X-Clacks Overhead: Making sense of death in the digital age

A man is not dead while his name is still spoken

Sir Terry Pratchett, in Going Postal

Introduction

In the context of Digital Civics, we often come across the notion of “wicked problems” [14]. Wicked problems is a way of defining those parts of life that are too complex to be easily broken into parts and solved away.

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What are you leaving behind?

Once, the essence of us as individuals was rooted in our time and place. In death, our legacy was defined by what we left behind: in possessions, in our children, and the memories and stories told by those around us. A fortunate few have succeeded in transferring part of who they are to the abstract;

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What meaning is there to be found in online discussion?

Users of the internet are exposed to the opinions of thousands of individuals, often without the slightest introduction or any other evidence of their existence. Most of us will happily accept exchanges that take place on the internet as though we witnessed the interaction taking place in front of us.

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Ubicomp as a research topic: Time of death, 2012

In his paper “What Next, Ubicomp?” [1], Gregory Abowd makes a carefully reasoned argument for declaring the beginning of the end for the research topic of ubiquitous computing (ubicomp). A veteran of the field himself, Abowd chose 2012, 21 years after the publication of Mark Weiser’s “The Computer for the 21st Century” [2],

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