Rage Against the Ghost in the Machine

Presented by Lilly Ryan
Tuesday 4:15 p.m.–4:45 p.m.
Target audience: Community


People have been using technology to try to contact ghosts for over a hundred years. From ouija boards to EVP to the not-quite-unbelieveable creepypasta you stumble across on a forum at 3am, the spirits of the dead are ever present in our imaginations and (maybe?) our servers.

Some of the recently departed haunt our Facebook advertisements, and many tech companies have had a history of failing to deal well with (or even think about) death. However, very soon, you could deliberately leave a ghost of your own! Researchers are currently working to make our sci-fi dreams a reality, and let us live on digitally after we are gone. Trailing information in our wake every time we touch the Internet, it becomes increasingly possible to create a digital presence that will use these (and future) data points to respond and react to events after our deaths much as we might have in life.

But, as we grow ever-closer to building this reality, how should we think about our ghosts? Are they technically 'us'? Do we own them, or does Google? Could a hacker spin up a doppelganger to plague you in life? Could a corporation do the same?

To explore the answers to these questions and more, light some candles, and follow Lilly into the beyond.

Presented by

Lilly Ryan

Lilly is a software developer, digital rights activist, and recovering historian from Melbourne. She is definitely not a hologram.

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