Side effects

Today would have been my brother-in-law’s birthday. Over dinner a couple of days ago, my wife told me about an automated message she had received. “It’s almost Lothar’s birthday! Do you want help planning a party?”

She had tears in her eyes.

Think about all the people who had a hand in creating this feature. Do you think any of them considered this possibility? Did they think, “oh well, that tiny twist of the knife isn’t very big compared to having lost your loved one in the first place”? Did they think, “well, that’s a shame, but this feature is projected to bring us $$$$$ in revenue!”? Did they think, “if they didn’t want this kind of reminder they should disable all notifications anyway”? Did they think, “I guess that’s not great, but having another feature to mark your loved ones as dead just to avoid this seems even more macabre”?

Did they think about the possibility at all?

We miss you, Lothar. It would have been a great party.

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