Welcome to the 1st edition of The Art of Memorialising, a monthly newsletter (free at the moment) by me, Peter Billingham.
The focus is on digital immortality, digital legacy, and #Deathtech.
What will you find here? You’ll find startup spotlights and morsels of news helping you to hear first what’s happening in this fast changing marketplace. Along with a sprinkling of opinion and reflection, THANK YOU for being here!
Do Ideas Come of Age?
Back in BS-1983 (BS = before Starbucks) when returning from a holiday in America, I had a brilliant idea.
I would bring the coffee shops I’d enjoyed there to the UK.
After all, it was ‘Yuppie’ era. A Filofax would set you back £39, a Motorola 8000X ‘brick’ mobile phone - a whopping £3000. Say nothing of buying the requisite red 911 Porsche with a black ‘whale tail’ spoiler.
Discovering I could source a commercial coffee machine and espresso beans from Italy, it nearly happened.
But then I paused.
Would someone spend their new £1 coin on a cup of coffee?
Was £1 a jump too far?
It was 3 or 4 times the cost of a takeaway coffee. Though we didn’t ‘takeaway coffee’ then.
I didn’t make the call to Italy. Might have got that one wrong.
What ideas have you nearly invented, developed, or started? But then paused too long?
Back in 2016 I thought digital legacy, digital immortality and ‘Death Going Digital’ would interest people. Didn’t seem to strike a chord in too many.
I got to thinking, ‘Was my timing out - again?’
Then the world changed forever in 2020.
Perhaps now digital immortality, digital legacy, and #Deathtech are ideas coming of age?
What do you think? Send me an email with your thoughts
Maybe we’ll discover the answer is yes as we explore - The Art of Memorialising.
Watching how difficult it was for families of friends who died during the pandemic, Richard Steiber co-founded GoodTrust with Daniel Sieberg. Both ex-Google executives, they’ve raised $2.3 million funding - so far - Per VentureBeat.
While aware of many other digital legacy platforms, GoodTrust offers to lock down digital accounts of a deceased loved one, handling all the legal, financial and practical steps taking away an overwhelming task from families.
GoodTrust offers ‘Last Goodbyes’ - a stored email, social media post or video to be shared after someone passes away.
In June, Daniel Sieberg wrote a thought provoking Medium post - A Father’s Legacy #RememberDad - the tone much more about curating a life, than protecting a digital legacy.
This is the distinct change in language around #Deathtech I’ve noticed.
Offering to curate your life while you are alive is a gentler ‘sell’ than storing your digital legacy after you have died.
With GoodTrust, you can
Create a social media ‘will.’
Send messages to the future, even after death.
Share the details of your digital assets now or after death.
Plan your digital legacy wishes.
Another Startup in the news is Memories.
So often a catalyst, a death in a family and experiencing loss, (but not finding what they needed or wanted) prompts an entrepreneurial mind to think of starting something new or improving an idea.
That’s part of the story behind how eventually Tom Ainsworth became CEO at the recently rebranded Memories Platform.
Starting as Skymorials (have to say that Memories is much better name) they recently secured $31 million AUD, on top of $10 million AUD last year to fund future growth.
Memories tag line is - ‘Where memories keep living.’ It brands itself as a ‘Private, safe and beautiful space to capture your story. For now and for future generations.’
With Memories, you can
Create a memorial for a loved person or even a pet.
Record the story of your life as its happening.
Create and collaborate on a single event like a holiday with friends.
Send future memories to loved one’s years into the future.
But more than just a digital legacy alternative, they have sights on building it into social media platform without advertising. Now that’s interesting!
Whatever is happening there is worth watching.
Heard of a startup in #Deathtech? Please let me know.
MM’s (Memorialisation Morsels)
5 meaty bites of news for YOU to stay ahead of the conversation on #Deathtech
1 - What’s Apple Doing With A Legacy Feature?
It’s the question buzzing around the web since it launched the additional feature in June 2021. As with Facebook, you can now nominate a legacy contact on your iOS account. You can find a Step-by-step guide how to do it here. Seeing Apple take digital legacy to this level tells me attitudes are changing.
2 - Is Digital Legacy Going Mainstream?
‘About 30,000 people a day die with Facebook accounts.’ CBS runs this video segment which highlights the need for digital legacy planning. What’s most interesting is the subject is hitting major news distribution.
3 - Is Australia leading the field in Digital Legacy?
Where else can go to your local library for free training on planning your digital estate?
4 - Let Facebook Clone Your Voice For Digital Immortality?
Facebook has applied for a patent to generate voice models that resemble users’ actual voices. As @thisisneer identifies, your personalised voice model could allow someone to interact with you after you have passed away through Facebook. Via the excellent Patent Drop on Substack
5 - Do You Want Your Voice To Be Your Legacy?
Vocapsule (Virtually Operated Capsule) is developing an A.I. platform to preserve your voice. As well as posthumous messaging, they develop ways for ALS patients (sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s or MND - Motor neurone disease) to store their voice before they lose the ability to speak. Vocapsule is also planning on offering face-cloning for interactive avatars that exist forever.
Would you clone your voice for digital immortality?
Does this fascinate you or is it just weird?
Is it the future you want to be part of?
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Are You Thinking About …
When we can combine technology and digital immortality platforms to create digital memoirs for those ageing?
How the Competition and Markets Authority Funerals Market Investigation might change the funeral industry in England?
What stops you writing a will (if you haven’t done already) - either written or digital?
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Until next month, keep safe, and keep going.