Today Rudy Adler, co-founder of 1000Memories visited us at Institute for the Future to share about his project, which links to the future of death, the future of connecting, the future of memories, and the future of storytelling.

Here is an example of a memories tribute page, designed to remind us of a patchwork quilt.  It’s complete with stories, photos, videos, songs, and scanned artifacts of the beloved one who has passed away at various ages and even features handwitten notes:

Rudy is a smart, genuine guy (which is important for a site that promises to preserve your memories forever.)

He opened his talk with a personal story about losing someone in his life and his company’s call to action evidences big picture thinking: “We need a new oral history.”

The site that results is a well-designed and interesting signal (early indicator of a future direction of change) around the future of connecting.

Here is a summary of the idea in 1 minute & 12 seconds:

1000Memories has gotten a lot of press, but my favorite description comes from a TechCrunch article that resonates with my own personal experence of the site:

Visitors are first presented with a big picture of the deceased, presumably that one image that best captured his soul and personality. From there it’s easy to navigate to your next step as a reader, and sign a guest book. You can also invite others to the page at that time.

But what makes each site really rich are the stories and pictures that loved ones add to the site. Some are silly. Others rip tears from your eyes. But it helps fill out the picture of a man, and it helps family and friends remember that man more richly.

We are indeed becoming People of the Screen, as our Technology Horizons Future of Video research suggests.

This experience of digital life after death is one of the more meaningful ways I’ve seen this come to life so far.  Intrigued to see where 1000Memories will go.  Who do you want to remember?

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Note:  Also posted on the IFTF blog, FutureNow

Within the past week, two people whom I respect (Jerry Michalski, founder of Sociate and Jen Zogg, an Episcopal priest) both pointed me toward this TEDX talk by Brene Brown (a research professor at the University of Houston’s School of Social Work) on the Power of Vulnerability.

In only 20 minutes, Brown’s research is funny and endearing, yet it cuts to the quick:  We live in a vulnerable world, and we numb vulnerability in order to avoid the fear we feel about connecting to others and being truly seen.

As I think about vulnerability, community, and empathy, I am drawn to a concept I’m calling the Porous Person.  In contrast to an impermeable person, the porous person of the next decade has the potential to be more acutely aware of how their lives (health, financial status, purchasing decisions) are influenced by others and vice versa.

The drivers of this?  social contagion theory & network effects, growth of self-tracking (ie-Quantified Self), digital overlays on our “real-world” experience, and the explosion of context-aware data we’ll have at our fingertips to help tell the story of how we permeate each others’ worlds.

This article provides an interesting glimpse into some emerging pockets of Judaism, highlighting how groups within the continuum of the Jewish religion are re-appropriating Jewish rituals, stories, and symbols to speak to their needs today.

Though this is not a very systematic analysis of emerging Jewish identities, it provides some interesting signals of new cultural and religious mashups; a sense of the fragmentation of Jewish identity, echoed in other religions in the past decades.

In the US context, the “personalization” or “customization” of religion seems to be a trend that results as much from our cultural movements than from any phenomenon inherent in the underlying religion.  From Punk Torah to G-DCast, this article provides some interesting examples of new constructions of Jewish identity.