Job of the future: Embalming your online persona
When her mother had a severe accident that left her with quadriplegia, Annette Adamska realized how little she knew about her. Adamska didn’t know how her mother handled her money or online accounts, and her passwords were hidden away, written in code in a journal. They had a few months to speak about getting things in order before she passed away, but there were still many questions left.
The experience led Adamska to turn a background as a professional organizer into Back Up Your Life, a company focused on preparing people, particularly in their digital lives, for the day they can no longer speak for themselves.
Her services include conversations designed to identify everything that someone wants documented, stored, and shared. “If they are a writer, where do they store their writing? What if you have subscriptions or automatic withdrawals?” Adamska told MIT Technology Review. “If you get groceries delivered through Blue Apron, you could still keep getting an automatic delivery of groceries every week even after you pass.”
She creates plans for dealing with social-media accounts, online memberships, password storage, recurring financial payments, creative work, and more. And, just as important, she ensures that other people in your life know how to access them and how you want them to be handled.
Things that seem small or inconsequential in life, like your social-media profiles, can serve as triggers of grief to surviving family members. “Nothing makes grief any easier, but there are things that can make it harder,” Adamska says. “Do you really want your loved ones to get a happy birthday notification after you pass?”
While there are other planning assistants out there, they focus on helping people near the end of their lives. Most of Adamska’s clients, however, are in their 30s or 40s. She wants to focus on helping people live more at peace, rather than assisting with a scramble to get their affairs in order. “At the core, I am doing what I’m doing because I don’t want anyone to go through what I did,” she says.
This article is part of a series on jobs of the future. Check out other futuristic job profiles here.
The inside story of how ChatGPT was built from the people who made it
Exclusive conversations that take us behind the scenes of a cultural phenomenon.
ChatGPT is about to revolutionize the economy. We need to decide what that looks like.
New large language models will transform many jobs. Whether they will lead to widespread prosperity or not is up to us.
Sam Altman invested $180 million into a company trying to delay death
Can anti-aging breakthroughs add 10 healthy years to the human life span? The CEO of OpenAI is paying to find out.
GPT-4 is bigger and better than ChatGPT—but OpenAI won’t say why
We got a first look at the much-anticipated big new language model from OpenAI. But this time how it works is even more deeply under wraps.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.