One of the usual fears of most people is that if they die suddenly, they would not have said what they wanted to say to their loved ones for the last time. 30 year old programmer Takuya Kato was thinking about this while on his daily commute on the train, until he finally came up with the idea of creating the website Proof of Life.
The website allows registered users to write and save a simple email message to whomever they want to receive it just in case something untoward happens. The website will then monitor the user’s social networking activity on Facebook and Twitter, and if they become inactive for 20 days, the website will send an email to the user, asking if they’re still alive. The service will ping one more time until the 30 day cycle ends and if there’s still no response or activity by then, the service will send his last words to those in the recipient list, assuming that the user has truly passed away.
Because of Japan’s greying population, internet services like these have sprouted, with the goal of checking in on the wellbeing of elderly citizens. But for some reason, the clientele of the Proof of Life website is mostly men in their 30s-40s. Kato theorizes that these men are mostly hard workers or workaholics, but they probably always worry about things like these as well. The site has already 1,000 registered users in the one year it’s been up. It still has a few kinks to be worked out, like if you change your email address, you may not be able to receive or respond to the periodic probes and so it might trigger a false alarm. There is also no way to inform the service that you’ll be traveling for a long time in a place with no regular Internet connection. It will be a nasty shock to your loved ones if they suddenly receive an email saying you’ve already passed when you’re obviously still alive.
[ via Wall Street Journal ]