Author : Sean P Chatterton

‘How long has she been dead?’

‘We don’t know.’

‘How come?’

‘Katherine Danderfield was a plugged in person. She had autresponders for her email, bots to update her social network status and MyFace Blog. Her web presence had auto updates scheduled. No one was aware of her death because her net presence continued uninterrupted.’

‘Regarding her updates, how long can auto responders and auto updates continue without input?’

‘There are two types of bots that can manage a persons virtual life. One type uses heuristic algorithms. The second type uses reasoning response engines. Both could technically continue indefinitely.’

‘Surely something mundane like an unpaid bill would have occurred over time?’

‘All of her income was net derived; all of her bills were paid automatically. Everything was, and still is, up to date.’

‘So there was no idea it wasn’t her responding to emails and etc?’

‘Apparently not.’

‘So how did the police department become aware of her death?’

‘She had an arrangement with her daughter, Sandra, to physically visit her once a year on her birthday. When her daughter visited, Katherine didn’t respond to physical stimulus. A medic was called, who diagnosed her brain dead at the scene.’

‘Where did Katherine live?’

‘Records show Katherine inhabited a pod at the Berkeley Virtual-Life centre. Her physical world is not much larger than a coffin. Records also indicate that she suffered multiple limb loss after an automobile accident seven years ago. So she opted to become a virtual citizen and be hard wired to the net.’

‘Not much of a life was it?’

‘Depends on your point of view. In the physical world she would have required care twenty four seven. In the virtual world she was her own person.’

‘So as she was practically removed from the physical world is it theoretically possible she had been dead for nearly a year?’

‘Yes. Being that she was plugged in, the medicare system could sustain her body indefinitely.’

‘It raises the question of how many others who are plugged in are brain dead, with their bots and autoresponders keeping things updated, doesn’t it?

‘Autoresponder Error: Parameters not set, please rephrase your question and ask again.’

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