Welcome to the second edition of The Art of Memorialising, a monthly newsletter (free at the moment) by me, Peter Billingham.
Is death and the way you remember those who have died no longer a taboo subject?
While facing your mortality will never lose its sting, digital technology is providing new compassionate tools to face your finite days. Helping you record and remember your life, leaving your mark on the world for those who follow.
The Art of Memorialising newsletter helps you learn the latest news about digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation and all things #Deathtech.
In this month’s issue:
News around #Deathtech Startup’s After Cloud and Cake.
Our ‘Memorialisation Morsels’ highlight a free will in 15 mins, remembering to keep the humanity in digital, and animating the images of ancestors, among other many fascinating #Deathtech developments.
Along with a sprinkling of opinion and reflection about making our mark in life, THANK YOU for being here.
Let’s discover the future being created through - The Art of Memorialising together.
Have You Made Your Mark In Life Yet?
I often walk the route with my dog, sitting for a breather in the lychgate at the entrance to a small graveyard. The rickety roof is a shelter from rain or wind. A well-worn wooden seat is the quiet spot for an early morning flask of coffee.
I see the names on tombstones - ‘the dash’ - sitting between dates is the same length, the number of years on either side often far different.
But what catches my eye is - ‘GVM was ere!’ Gashed and lacerated into ancient wood. Somewhere is a school desk where I probably did the same.
There is something in humans, an innate desire within, to make our mark. Will #Deathtech transform the way you and I do that?
If you are rich, you can have your name on the side of a research facility or library. What if you are poor? Who remembers you then?
Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. Shannon Alder.
We all end up as stories. How will you choose to mark the stories of your life? Digital technology provides you with simple, adaptable and affordable ways to become digitally immortal.
Once were rumours of famous people being frozen, from the neck up, ready to be defrosted and brought back to life. Now A.I. bots can synthesise your voice, clone your face and even write books as if it was you speaking.
Is digital immortality to be the next frontier?
Will we be the generation exploring strange new worlds of digital legacy? Seeking out immortality - boldly going when no human has been before? To live in perpetual digital eternity? (With a grateful nod to Star Trek for the rhythm of those words.)
And all from the mobile phone in our hand?
What do you think? Would you like the story of your life to be marked for eternity by digital technology? Send me an email with your thoughts.
Are You Thinking About …
What people in the Death Positive Group on Reddit chat about? Some interesting subjects by a quick scan, and wonderful insights for anyone interested in #Deathtech, Digital Legacy or Memorials.
Who in your family may have cryptocurrency or NFTs? Have they left details of their digital wallet passwords? The Hustle Newsletter Issue #162, What happens to your bitcoin when you die? Might be worth a read.
How will you know if your posthumous message has been sent?
Startup Spotlights - After Cloud & Cake
After Cloud - Always there
“IT’S HER VOICE I MISS THE MOST, I WISH I COULD HEAR HER AGAIN”
After Cloud is a secure mobile app for capturing life’s important moments. It’s a place to store memories, thoughts and important information, sharing it with your loved ones. After Cloud is set to launch in autumn 2021.
With After Cloud, as a digital memory vault you can
Plan your digital memory legacy from your mobile phone.
Create a post for any occasion by recording your voice, writing a letter or uploading a photograph and share the moment.
Send special messages to celebrate an occasion years into the future.
Record your family history as it happens and share through to a closed and private group via email in-app.
What makes After Cloud interesting and seems to set it apart from other digital legacy/digital memory platforms is having Brand Ambassadors and an extensive board of advisors.
After Cloud lists a global partnership of academics and practitioners combining the fields of Psychology, Palliative Care, Medical Consultants, Faith, Business Leadership and Social Care. Along with the Universities of St Andrews, Warwick and Bedfordshire as research partners. After Cloud supports several Children’s hospices, works with Child Bereavement UK, Together for Short Lives, and The New Normal.
Congratulations are in order as well - After Cloud just won a UK Health Radio award for their Dementia support work. You can find out more about After Cloud and register for further updates here.
Another Startup in the news is Cake
While not quite a new ‘Startup,’ Cake is still in its infancy. It’s only three years or so old, but claims the title of the ‘Largest end-of-life platform on the internet.’ Cake is in the news this month for an oversubscribed funding round which raised $3.7m USD. (via Markets Insider)
Back in 2018, one founder, Suelin Chen, described the journey from idea to launch, in a Forbes interview. Now Chen is saying, ‘The pandemic sped up existing trends … we’ve seen increased demand and decreased stigma around end-of-life topics.’
According to Market Insider, the use of AI and NLP technology helped the platform grow 10x last year, serving over 30 million people annually. Cake offers its users articles and tools for guidance on death, grief and mortality, along with offering help on wills & estate planning, health directives, and ageing parents.
With Cake you can:
Learn what steps to take to plan a funeral or memorial event.
Get support for loss and grief.
Understand simply the role of an executor and what to do if there is no will.
The steps to take for organising the digital legacy issues following a death.
Cake works with insurance companies, banks and major health systems in the US making it one of the major players in the end-of-life and #Deathtech marketplace.
Also in the #Deathtech Startup news this month:
Tech can’t solve death. But startups increasingly want to help with what comes after. (via - Fortune Magazine) Digital legacy platforms, online funerals and Recompose - a startup that takes dead bodies and turns them into soil launches virtual ceremonies.
Another interesting article (via i-online) is the launch of Tyde - The UK’s first completely online funeral booking platform. Tyde commissioned a study of 1000 adults into the problems of planning a funeral, and is now offering families a way of booking the complete funeral online.
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 - If You Lost Your Closest Friend & Could Create An A.I. Replica, Would You Do It?
In Speak, Memory - Casey Newton, (via The Verge,) tells the story of Eugenia Kuyda’s poignant journey creating a memorial bot following the death of her closest friend, Roman Mazurenko. It’s a deep read full of fascinating questions and ideas on digital immortality. It asks many questions around the ethics and emotional problems digital immortality can potentially bring. You can find out more by watching the video story at Replika.
2 - Remembering To Keep Humanity In #Deathtech
Once I’ve Gone CEO, Ian Dibb, speaks on Death and Innovation and the importance of keeping the human in #Deathtech. Once I’ve Gone is an organisation where all the team have lost people. It avoids the problem of compounding the loss of a loved one by not knowing their end-of-life choices. Once I’ve Gone is a digital tool helping get personal, legal and financial affairs in order while you’re alive – to minimise stress for those they leave behind. I interviewed Ian on the Death Goes Digital Podcast a few years ago.
3 - And To My Grandson, Jack, I Leave The Accumulated Points of My Online Video Games.
Tencent is Chinese technology conglomerate - they are one of the world’s largest video game vendors along with music, mobile games and multiplayer online games. This month, (via Eurogamer, Kotaku, and Bollyinside) all mentioned Daniel Ahmed who identified Tencent had obtained a patent that might allow inheritance of digital items and assets after a person passes away. This has sparked some interesting conversations about digital inheritance. Tencent has not announced an actual digital inheritance plan just yet. But will all those credits you have in online games be able to be passed on in remembrance? Makes you think it may do one day.
4 - A Free Digital Will In 15 Mins On Your Mobile Phone?
Last month’s Art of Memorialising newsletter spotlighted GoodTrust. They are in the news again (via prnewswire.) They now offer a new online tool that creates a will for free in less than 15 minutes even on a mobile device. It can be uploaded and stored within a GoodTrust profile and easily shared with loved ones.
5 - Deep Nostalgia - Animating The Faces of Your Ancestors
The Art of Memorialisation takes on new meaning with Deep Nostalgia™. When the second question in a FAQ list says, ‘It’s fascinating but a bit uncanny don’t you think?’ Some people love it, consider it magical, while others find it creepy and dislike it. What do you think? Deep Nostalgia™ can animate old photographs, taking the still black and white or colour images and turning them into a moving image. Some people must love it as they claim 88 Million animations made to date … and counting!
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Until next month, keep safe, and keep going.