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the virtually living on

DEATH is not the end, not any more, not online, not if you don't want it to be.

When your heart stops beating, you'll keep tweeting, promises a terrifying new Twitter app.

Launching next month, LivesOn uses algorithms to analyse your online behaviour so it can Tweet on topics you enjoy – used to enjoy? What tense is appropriate here? – as well as "favourite" items and post links to articles you would recommend had you not unfortunately ceased to be. It learns to be you over time.

I find tweeting and Facebooking arduous enough. But I imagine those signed up have to be as sparkling as possible to make sure their after-death efforts live up to hard-won virtual reputations. The intent, to create an e-memorial to yourself, is not new: DeadSocial and If I Die post predetermined messages after the user is gone but LivesOn is the first to actively take over your identity. Creepy enough are these sites awaiting confirmation of your death, an extension of writing letters to loved ones to be opened after your passing.

Dave Bedwood, a creative partner at Lean Mean Fighting Machine, the firm behind the scheme, said: "Cryogenics costs a fortune; this is free and I'd bet it will work better than a frozen head."

That's a bold claim. I imagine Twitter feeds and frozen heads have fairly dissimilar uses – who can say which will come in handiest?

I'm not sure how the bereaved move on when there's still a live feed to look at. It's like picking over the corpse of a dead relationship by keeping an eye on your ex's Facebook page. It's not healthy and makes me feel more than a little uneasy, unless you're over the person and just objectively interested. But let's face it, that's rare.

The firm's Twitter feed features the post: "God doesn't exist, servers do. Sign up to the real after life."

Can I sign up to the real before death? This could be useful. We could extend the idea to random column generation. It could figure out, on the balance of probability, what my opinion would be on any given subject and then write my copy for me.

Maybe it already has. Maybe I've been made redundant and this was churned out by a machine in a converted warehouse in Govan. You'll never know.

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