Microsoft files patent for beyond-the-grave computing


hologram.jpgAnd if that doesn’t bring to mind a horde of zombies lurching towards PC World chanting “Vista!”, I don’t know what will. Microsoft has filed a patent for what it calls ‘immortal computing’, which at its core is a way to store data and messages which will be accessible by future generations.

“Maybe we should start thinking as a civilization about creating our Rosetta stones now, along with lots of information, even going beyond personal memories into civilization memories,” researcher Eric Horvitz tells the Seattle P-I.

Apparently, uses for the technology could be to set up automatic birthday emails to your grandchildren to arrive after you’re dead and gone, through to really cool stuff like interactive holograms of yourself, which can haunt your grave.

Microsoft filed the patent in June 2005, but it’s only just been made public and talked about. Among the problems that would need to be solved are storage, to ensure that whatever data you save now is still accessible in decades – or even centuries’ time. It might also use DNA or biometric technology to ensure that only genuine descendants can view whatever you’ve saved.

“The whole reason to go to a cemetery could be transformed,” says Horvitz. “The idea of a locus in physical space where this information exists … makes that much more of a meaningful location to actually travel to.”

(via Seattle P-I)

Stuart Dredge
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  • Absurd. How will the cemetery sound when Bob’s grave is blasting Heavy Metal from the 80’s, while Doug’s headstone is shaking the earth with a hip-hop beat and grandma’s plot in the corner is trying to remind her offspring of all the fun they had sitting quietly on the back porch? We don’t need multi-media graves or national parks or back seats just because we CAN make them. Why is America afraid of a little peace and quiet?

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