You're going to die. What will happen to your online life?

An Assistant Professor and founding member of the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Jed R. Brubaker is best known for his research on digital afterlives, interactions with post-mortem data, and how to improve the management of accounts and personal data after we die. He was the lead researcher on Facebook’s post-mortem solution, Legacy Contact. In the physical world, Jed’s life is full of adventure — he has camped at National Parks with his cat and spent weekends with elephants in Sri Lanka.



Two come to mind: Roman Mars on flag design (It is fascinating, gives you a way to see the world, and it’s funny. I actually use it in a class I teach.); Shawn Achor on happiness (Brilliant beginning and a gives me a way of understanding my own experiences.)

What sparks your curiosity?

Someone with an unexpected story, way of thinking, or point of view. I love listening to stories and hearing new perspectives. Everyone is unique, which means each time you hear someone’s story, you get to learn a bit more about yourself as well. (Really, I love radio shows like “Left Right and Center“, and /r/changemyview is the best thing on Reddit. This is also why I love TED talks!)

What is the most uncommon experience, practice, belief, viewpoint, or habit that you have, and how has that shaped you as a person?

Growing up a queer kid in a religious family, it took me a long time to learn that my experiences deserved respect and that I deserved respect. In learning how to tell my own story, I learned to cherish other’s as well. Every person and their life story is sacred and should be honored for exactly what it is.

Hobbies / Passions / Fun Facts

1. In 2012, on my way to an internship at Microsoft Research, my cat and I camped our way through the national parks.
2. When I was 24, I moved to Sri Lanka to run a startup and spend weekends at an elephant orphanage.
3. My original plan was to be a choreographer. I still pick up a modern dance class 1–2 a week.