The tweet hereafter

A new program wants to mimic your social media presence to help you tweet from beyond the grave

Published March 1, 2013 7:14PM (EST)

Ours is a generation obsessed with sharing every thought, feeling and brunch picture on social media. And now we never have to stop. Not even when we're dead.

The London-based ad team at Lean Mean Fighting Machine has introduced an "artificial intelligence experiment" called LivesOn. A program that will let Twitter users, well, live on through their account.

In order to distill information about your tastes, interests and "voice," the program analyzes your tweets while you're still alive. But once LivesOn learns enough about your social media style, it will begin posting updates independently to your new feed. Your followers can "favorite" the tweets that they like, providing even more informational feedback to the Twitter bot, helping it sound even more like "you."

Then, after you have tweeted your last and taken off for that big Google Hangout in the sky, your account's "executor" will decide whether or not to keep it active. Really, the tag line says it all: "When your heart stops beating, you'll keep tweeting."

But Dave Bedwood, creative partner behind the project, doesn't want to creep you out with the prospect of postmortem status updates. He just sees LivesOn as an inevitable extension of our media-steeped culture. "The thought just came that, over time, with Moore's Law, et cetera, tech becoming more pervasive -- how much of ourselves will we give to zeros and ones? Will any of it really constitute us?" Bedwood told Mashable in an email. "But it's hard to see this trend reversing. And if we are posting all this stuff, what will happen to it? It feels evolutionary in a way, inevitable that man will use technology to somehow live on."

The ad agency is working on the experiment with London's Queen Mary University, and the website indicates that the program will begin beta-testing in March.


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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