Digital heritage and image control

Inheritance is what we leave behind to share. Very often, it is the fruit of a lifetime of work, which we consider to be the best of ourselves, ignoring our human imperfections… But we are talking about a material inheritance, a matter that an honourable will and a good notary can settle in a few weeks.

But what about the digital, and therefore immaterial, heritage?

Today, digital has overwhelmed everything! The greatest and most talented minds, who have written remarkable books and essays, the very ones who have touched the fundamentals of life, have been “digitised” and thus, somewhere, atomised in the cloud…

Google has digitised our time on earth during our lifetime, will it be the holder of our digital heritage? And, if so, will the one who will carry our word be a machine, an algorithm… A kind of digital “Griot”?

Well, yes, it is better to get used to the idea and prepare for it. When I understood this “new deal”, my first reaction was anguish and disgust. I thought of Denis Diderot’s quote “Immortality is a kind of life that we acquire in the memory of men”. Has it become obsolete? Have men lost their memory and delegated it to Google? A little stunned by this reality, I furtively gave up and resigned myself to this unworthy fate. Fortunately, the fighter soon woke up: The digital immortality that Google offers me, I must master it instead of depending on it…

The very idea that my descendants, titillated by a healthy curiosity, would have only Google searches to find out more about their ancestors revolted me; It’s not that my time on this planet is littered with shameful and unassumed things, but I don’t want my life to be summed up by a robot that would deliver figures in disorder, feats of arms made ridiculous because taken out of context, misinterpreted victories, evidence of uncontrolled emotions, unfounded criticisms by virtual detractors… No ! I would rather be forgotten than have a truncated memory…

So what to do?

As in life, a virtual “will” has to be prepared… Fortunately there are specialists for that too and a good Online Reputation agency for the management of your digital legacy has the technical means to put our digital life in order.


A billionaire contacted me recently, precisely to set the clocks back on his digital heritage. A man with a fascinating background, he said to me: Mr Alaux, my fortune being made, I no longer feel the weight of the pressure of the digital world on my business.

My detractors and competitors have been creative and resourceful in damaging, hindering and destroying me throughout my life as a businessman: I have been accused of theft, of misuse of corporate assets, of being wanted by the police all over the world, of being in prison, of not being able to travel to this or that country. All this was false and these attacks failed.

Yet a few months ago I was watching my grandchildren play in a park and in the meantime I googled myself (something I had always forbidden myself to do when I was in the heat of the moment).

As I read the first two pages of Google, I realised what I was going to leave as a legacy to those two little blonde heads playing in the sand in total carelessness: a battlefield littered with lies and nonsense.

So there you have it, I want it to change. Mr Alaux, I ask you to put all this in order.

Don’t praise me, don’t say I was a great person. I just want us to set the record straight together, so that my descendants have a chance to know who their grandfather really was.

Stéphane Alaux.

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