Life and Death in the Electronic Age

[UPDATE, 06.15.07: Dude, where’s my content? There was a post here about some guy in Japan, I think, who’d been dead for something like eighteen months before anyone found out, because he had auto-bill-paying set up, along with other such internet-based conveniences. At least I think that’s what this post was about. I’m totally puzzled about where it went, though!]

5 thoughts on “Life and Death in the Electronic Age

  1. I’ve been planning to write a blog entry about your reading of this story, but got caught up blogging other things. I think you’re absolutely right that the man was “underinvolved” in the virtual. I know that I “miss” people when they don’t blog or suddenly stop blogging, so yeah, I think the virtual can promote connectivity. It doesn’t have to increase isolation at all.

  2. I’ve got a story to beat that; in Tokyo, construction workers found the skeleton of a man in an appartment building last June. Judging from newspapers, he died in 1984, but his ex-wife and kids never reported him missing. He was only found because the appartment building had been bought out (I think the company that had originally built the building had gone bankrupt shortly after the appartment was constructed. This man had been living there, but no one ever thought to look for him after he died. Disturbing in the extreme.

  3. Okay, that’s seriously creepy. I have two questions, though: first off, if they found the skeleton *rolled up in a futon*, why are the police “not treating this death as suspicious”? Do they think he rolled himself up in the futon before he died? Or perhaps a cleaning crew just rolled up the futon without noticing the DEAD BODY on it?

    And second: there must be some way to blame this on the Internet. But how? Perhaps if he’d had a web-enabled phone, he could have texted for help?

  4. this is a complex story that requires re evaluating how we communicate with one another and the idea of how isolation can cause persons to be marginated from our society.

    the parrallel of how a public square coorelates to evolving heath care systems in the US, may at first seem like a stretch, but with careful review of the glogs, one will begin to see the similarity in vantage points.


  5. To clarify a bit, the man had worked for the company that had originally built the appartment complex, and was living there in an appartment at the time of his death. Apparently the company went bankrupt shortly after he died, and the building remained uninhabited for 20 years (which is hard to imagine, given the housing crunch in Tokyo). I read about this in June, and vaguely remember some kind of deal about automated payments, but the internet wasn’t exactly widespread though. But the fact that this guy had an ex-wife and kids who didn’t look for him for 20 years….that creeps me out.

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