Kill me now (or never)
30 Oct, 2018
In this Halloween season, we would like to talk to you about the business of death, which still has a bright future ahead of it thanks to digital technology.
It is indeed a sector that has begun its digital transformation. A transformation all the more necessary because today’s young people, the millenials, as they say, are not particularly taphophilic (it’s a gift for your next Scrabble). As a result, several start-ups are now offering new ways to pay tribute to our deceased loved ones, to manage grief or to share memories. A brief overview.
Accompanying the relatives of the deceased
Dans nos coeurs.fr
It is one of the many virtual cemeteries that have flourished in recent years. There are some for humans, but also for dogs, cats, and other goldfish. On the site, the bereaved person looks for the name of the deceased or creates a virtual space in which he will add photos, videos, texts… A space that allows to invite other people who, in turn, will be able to gather on this virtual tomb. They can write a word on the guestbook, order flowers, plants, candles or plaques to embellish this virtual tomb.
Here we propose you to create, in all simplicity and for the modest sum of 149.99 dollars, your connected tomb. Your grave is equipped with a QR code which, once scanned by a smartphone, will allow your loved ones to access your web page and review your photos and videos, playlists and other virtual memories.
Speaking of virtual graves, in 2015 the Slate website created a virtual cemetery dedicated to all the characters of “Game of Thrones”, where you can decide at any time to place a flower on the grave of your favorite hero, who died among the 5,179 other characters who died in the series during the first 3 seasons…
From the funeral concierge to the live broadcast of your funeral
InMemori: Funeral Tribute 2.0
Created in 2016, the platform allows families to create in 5 minutes a private and personalized page in homage to the deceased to transmit all the information about the funeral, gather relatives and offer them the possibility to make a donation or a tribute, share memories, or even offer flowers. Concretely, it looks like a mix between MySpace and the MSN profiles of yesteryear.
Deathswitch.com, the voice from beyond falls
In 2006, an American neuroscientist launched Deathswitch, a start-up that, on condition of paying a subscription of $19.95 per year, allowed its subscribers to automatically activate, in the event of confirmed death, the sending of emails to predefined individuals to transmit passwords, designate beneficiaries of life insurance policies or reveal secrets never revealed during his lifetime. All of this can even be broadcast as a podcast or video. Unfortunately, the site no longer exists today, we hope that it is not because the neuroscientist had forgotten to pay his annual subscription or to transmit his last wishes…
An idea that has nevertheless made small since many other sites exist around these features including the French edeneo.fr.
In addition, Google, known for leaving nothing to chance about your data, offers an inactive account management service that allows you to set the time at which Google will consider you dead and execute your last wishes for your personal data.
In another area, several platforms allow relatives and friends who cannot physically attend funerals to follow them via a video webcast. Preparations, the choice of texts read during the ceremony and other rituals can now be carried out remotely according to a schedule of fees of up to several thousand euros for a webcast using global video conferencing. These services have made a lot of headway since several major players in the funeral industry now offer them. You can even take the DVD of the ceremony home with you!
Get to know immortality through the virtual
I’ll be back…
The fear of disappearing forever is also a real driving force for some. Thus, Gordon Bell, an American engineer at Microsoft, decided to archive his entire life. No action in his life escapes his compulsive daily digitization: a ballad is tracked by GPS, a photo or a letter are scanned and so on for more than a decade. He was thus able to draw from it a book, entitled “Total Recall” in which he explains that he hopes one day to be able to provide a kind of avatar of himself to his future descendants after his death.
With Me: take a selfie with your grandmother gone too early
A project that the South Korean company Elrois has managed to implement thanks to its With Me application, which allows a loved one to be “scanned” before death in order to restore a 3D avatar or digital clone. It is then possible to make him appear in augmented reality, to take a picture of himself at his side, and even to have a limited conversation with him. Well… to be able to do that, you still have to explain to Grandma beforehand that you need to scan her in case she dies…
More or less far-fetched ideas, certainly, but which still raise a very serious question: what will our digital life look like after our death? What will happen to our personal data? Will they be condemned to wander in the virtual limbo of the net? In other words, the CNIL has not finished tearing its hair out on the issue of data protection and the right to be forgotten on the web…!
PS: otherwise, still as crazy, but much less virtual, you can also, for your last big trip, decide to send your ashes into space thanks to the company Elysium Space. You can then choose between two formulas: the Shooting Star Memorial, with a ship that will orbit the earth for several months. The associated mobile application will indicate its position so that your loved ones can try to see it and wave at your ashes. It will cost $1,990 but at this price, the app is free. The other option is to send your ashes to the Moon for $9,950 for the first 50 (or 11,950 for the next 50).
Next launch planned for 2019, hurry up and die!