Yes Elaine, there seems to be both practical and emotional sides to this. Storing such sensitive information obviously requires a high level of security. One critical question is how to grant the right people access at the right time? In some cases it would be appropriate for selected people to have access while the owner is still alive which would be relatively straight forward. In the case where individuals only get access once someone has passed away poses some challenges, such as how does the system know that the owner is no longer around and grant the relevant people access? A subject that would require some collaborative thinking.
That’s a lovely idea Nancy. The memories and wishes aspect of this has lots of potential, both projecting forwards in terms of thoughts for our children and looking back to share important times past. When my kids were younger I used to keep a daily diary of things they said and stuff we did, my main motivation was that I was worried I wouldn’t remember. There could also be value in this for people who are concerned about their memory and worry they might face dementia in years to come.
Storing our memories is something that you might argue is going to be mostly digitised going forward. The likes of Facebook like to remind you what you did a year ago today. I’m 44 I have around 14,000 photos and video clips in a multitude of places, how on earth does someone deal with inheriting that when they probably have the same problem themselves? The question to explore here would be, how do you capture what’s important and filter out the noise from a multitude of channels, maybe that aspect is best left to the internet giants to solve, maybe not? It’s probably an entirely separate product in itself.
I would say the main challenge with a service like this is keeping it lean, there’s so much that could be captured that it might be off-putting and too overwhelming to even begin. It needs to help and asset you and encourage you to add to it over time.
Thanks Shane, interesting point. Involving others beyond your immediate family is is potentially a powerful strand to this. In the UK when you create a will, if you have children you are advised to appoint guardians in the case of your death. This is usually close relatives or friends and you have to decide who’s best for that role once you are gone. Again though this is a very practical requirement and doesn’t include other groups of friends of family members. Whilst my wife and I have appointed my sister and her husband in our case we also have a wider group of friends that I’d like to know were looking out for my kids if I was gone - 'The Council of Dads' is an excellent example of this, there must be strength through shared responsibility. I suppose this is similar to the role that Godparents might take but I think there’s an opportunity to open this up to a broader circle of friends. However this does highlight how the requirements of such a service would change in this respect depending on how old you and your offspring are.