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Digital hit man. Digital cleaner.

In this post, Steven Keith, a strategist at Capstrat, has provided me with the next real world need in search of an online equivalent.

I recently watched the director’s cut of Bladerunner. His job is to kill the aging androids. I thought a job of the future would be to kill someone’s digital past- for hire. Or offer services to alter relics or artifacts of someone’s past so you could change history to protect their political or executive future.

Imagine virtual detectives and digital hitmen roaming the bytes of your past annihilating all evidence of your misgivings, paving the road to your new pristine tomorrow in exchange for money, services or whatever form the currency of our reputation will take.

I think of “The Wolf” in Pulp fiction combined with Trinity from The Matrix. A super-stealthy hacker who can mop up your bloody past and erase your digital finger prints – all without leaving a trace.

Will there be legitimate and/or underground “cleaner” services that allow someone to erase “unfortunate” moments captured and released into the wilds of the Web? Will you want to do this at your death to gussy up your digital afterlife? Or will you want to control when your secrets hit the street. Personally, I am still waiting for someone on their death bed to spill the beans about JFK’s murder, like the inventor of Big Foot.

    2 Responses to Digital hit man. Digital cleaner.

    1. Todd Moy February 9, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

      Very Orwellian, with a pinch of Total Recall thrown in.

      One of the trends today is toward life streaming all your bits and weaving together the results using the semantic web. Right now it’s rough, crudely stitched and incomplete. But I think that’s just infancy stumbling around for balance and purchase.

      If we ever get to a point where such a substantial part of peoples’ lives are streamed online – and related to other things, then removing that presence becomes insanely difficult. By deleting a lifebit, you’d probably send tomorrow’s version of the 404 rippling around the web.

    2. ailec February 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

      Along the same lines, what if your digital life was held ransom? How much would you (or your estate/loved ones/whoever) pay to get it back? You might say “well what about back-up copies” but same could be said about the scenario above…. so, possibly, we’re talking about some Master copy?

      And, would there (analogous to above) be services offered to go in and rescue your Digital Life….

      Could there even be a Stockholm Syndrome associated with this, but in a manner such that you (whoever) later on alters your record to show the kidnapper(s) in a more favorable light?

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