'Is There Anybody There?' When the living can speak to the dead, what will they say?
The Art of Memorialising - Edition #15 - September, 2022
Welcome to The Art of Memorialising - an audio newsletter by Peter Billingham from Death Goes Digital and Memorable Words Eulogy Writing Services bringing you the latest news on digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation and all things #Deathtech.
Thanks for being here.
Sponsoring this edition of The Art of Memorialising is Murial
Murial is a startup with a mission to redefine obituaries into beautiful memorial websites. For business owners and professionals in the death care industry, this September, Murial is launching an exclusive new partnership program that offers huge incentives. See if their partnership program naturally fits with your product or service. Details are below.
What Will You Find In This Issue?
Speaking to the dead could become a daily conversation for some.
What if charities changed focus in their efforts for ‘in-memory fundraising to the living,’ and not the dead?
When digital legacy planning moves from the realms of purely interest to absolute necessity.
Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash
Will bitcoins or your life story be the legacy of greatest value?
‘Legacy is not leaving something for people. Legacy is leaving something in people.’ Peter Strople.
Being of sound mind, I do hereby declare this to be my last will and testament…
And so opens a standard will in the UK. A legal document, expressing your wishes about what you leave behind when your days end.
Your collection of vinyls.
Your NFT’s and Bitcoin’s.
Your Candy Crush Saga credits.
Your online betting wins.
Your in-store/online loyalty points.
Have you made a will?
Apparently, only 4 in 10 adults have.
The pandemic created increased demand for will writing for sure. The wills, trusts and probate market saw significant growth in demand in the last couple of years. Still, many fail to action one simple choice that could save so much worry, and unnecessary problems for their loved ones - by making a will.
During the last month, several newsletter sign ups (thank you very much) were from members of organisations providing information and support to charities for ‘in-memory fundraising.’ Helping charities find innovative ways to encourage their supporters to leave a legacy gift to the charity in their will.
You know how when you are thinking about buying a red car… you see red cars everywhere? It seems to be the same this month for me but with wills!
I’ve seen so many links offering to write a free will for me! The Guide Dogs, British Red Cross, and RSPCA, among them. The Goodwill Partnership and National Free Wills Network provide the legal help to write the wills.
I wonder? Are new A.I. innovations opening up opportunities for ‘in-memory fundraising’ through life-curation, rather than death-preparation?
Over the last six years, I’ve written and spoke about #digitallegacy. Honestly, mostly those who are in the #digitallegacy industry to some extent, find the subject as interesting as me! Most don’t.
And for now, most still don’t.
I think it is the same reason why 6 out of 10 adults will die without a will.
You have to die. We just don’t want to think about it or talk about. But telling the stories of our life, now, that’s another thing.
Increasingly, I’m finding people are more interested in what they can leave behind in the way of a life story as a legacy. Something they can do now, rather than later. There is a growing trend towards life-curation, self remembrance, even memoir writing.
For example, Memories to Memoir–An Introduction To Life Writing, is an online course by Derbyshire Writing School. (For full disclosure, my daughter, Laura Stroud, created and leads the course.)
While I’m incredibly proud of her endeavours (I’m her dad, of course!), what she is seeing is a consistent growth of people wanting to write their life stories to leave as a legacy. Most courses sell out quickly. Clients come to her for help writing their life story as a memoir.
Perhaps it’s more interesting documenting your life - than planning your death - however important and wise that decision affects the future.
People are interested in leaving the story of their life for others, just as much as their possessions. After all, it is what lives in their descendants, in their DNA, in their personalities and their memories. They are leaving themselves in those stories.
I believe there are enormous opportunities waiting for those organisations who can help people tell the story of their life. No end of innovative apps, software platforms and life curation services to partner with to do that. For example, see how Loom presents this idea to families.
Leaving behind the story of your life leaves those you love with an appreciation of their identity, their heritage and self-understanding, and unique family history. Priceless gifts much more than any possessions you value.
Who is out there ready to connect the opportunities of need with the solution?
What’s your thoughts?
Please let me know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let me congratulate Sheila Hogan, who founded Biscuit Tin. They have recognised Shelia as one of the best in the business after being named as a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Well done Shelia! Despite her snub on the Dragons’ Den, it looks like many others are recognising the potential in the product and its creator. Biscuit Tin is a finalist in the Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year category and I wish her all good luck for the awards night in November 2022.
Heard of a startup in digital life curation or #Deathtech?
Sponsored Product Sponsored Product or Service - Murial
Imagine an important person in your life passing away. Perhaps you have experienced it already? How did you, or how will you remember your loved ones? How was the news of their death shared?
Today’s tool — obituaries, both traditional or online — does not do enough. It reduces one’s amazing life to just words.
Murial believes there is a power in remembering well. They are changing obituaries to meaningfully designed memorial websites. Murial has created a wonderful remembrance platform, complete with an easy-to-use memorial builder that helps everyone remember a loved one’s life well.
Murial is looking for partners that can bring traffic or refer leads to its platform. Businesses or professionals with customers or audiences who may be interested in an alternative to obituaries can partner with Murial.
Partners will get 100% revenue sharing per premium memorial created. Murial costs $100 per memorial website created, therefore, a $100 commission is to be shared with you. This is unmatched, highest commission sharing in the industry.
This partnership program only has 50 slots, and applications will be closed at the end of the September 2022. If you are interested, reach out now to Murial’s founder, Gary Kisela, by email - email@example.com.
We highlight your product, service, or idea sponsoring an edition. We give you the space; you get to tell the world about what you are doing or have created.
You and your business can become part of the adventure now. Secure your month in 2022/23 now.
MM’s (Memorialisation Morsels)
5 meaty bites of news for YOU to stay ahead of the conversation on Digital Legacy, Digital Life Curation & all things #Deathtech.
1 - Would You Like To Say Hello To Your Dead Digital Self?
Opening the fascinating article, Will Digital Immortality Enable Us to Live Forever? Artificial intelligence is changing the way we live, connect, and grieve. (via psychologytoday.com) Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, highlights how AI is helping the dead connect with the living. For example, how Nirvana released a ‘new’ AI-generated song decades after the death of Kurt Cobain. As with the growing interest in writing your life story above, many people are curious to meet their AI-powered digital personas while they are alive. Wei sites the paper, ‘Digital Immortality and Virtual Humans’ by Maggie Savin-Baden and David Burden, which gives three categories of these digital immortality ‘creators’ - Memory creators, Avatar creators and Persona creators, and highlighting ways these tools are being used now by celebrities. Will the mass of population follow? Here’s another link with the same theme. Death, resurrection and digital immortality in an AI world.
2 - Can The Dead Tell The Story of Their Living?
A. rtificial I. mmortality is a documentary film asking, can AI enable us to live forever? If you could create an immortal version of yourself, would you? Would one day you like to meet a cloned version of yourself? Perhaps a better, smarter, and immortal you? Filmmaker Ann Shin sets out on a journey, exploring the latest AI and biotech with scientists and visionaries who foresee a ‘post-biological’ world where humans and AI merge. The trailer of the film reveals how AI gives immortality to the living, albeit digital. The film is available in the USA and Canada, and I hope soon in Europe.
Digital legacy voicebots, humanoids and other tools are capturing memories for future generations. But what does that really mean and offer for someone facing the end of life? Joanna Stern from Wall Street Journal embarks on a fascinating journey in this documentary to discover the answer to the question, ‘What happens to our digital lives after we die?’ She chats with Lucy, someone whose life literally depends on technology. Lucy has been inputting her life online for years, facing her life ending. She’s organised so much of her life online for when she passes away. But what about the essence of who she is as a woman? That’s what Joanna explores. This, movingly, tells the story of someone wrestling with thinking what those who survive us might find helping them after we die. Definitely worth watching.
The idea of uploading our minds to live forever was once the realms of sci-fi, it’s now ancient history. It’s a fact. It is here, and accessible to everyone. But would you do it? What would the impact be on those you leave behind? This is not a random upload, creating you, but digitally, a digital twin. Or a digital version of a loved one? Louis B. Rosenberg ventures a scary reality that taking this decision, our ‘twin’, could soon feel justified in owning our life! (via venturebeat.com) Fourteen years ago, Rosenberg wrote a novel describing this throughly frightening utopia. Now it’s here. He warns those considering mind uploading, ‘it’s not a pathway to immortality.’
5 - ‘Alexa, Can I Speak To Grandma, Please?’
A simple request? Well, if Grandma was alive, yes, but what if she’s been dead for years? Amazon is revealing its invention that could make it possible to ‘Speak to the dead.’ But should it? And should we? In Amazon’s new invention could let you “speak” to the dead — but should it?, (via inverse.com) Sofia Quaglia outlines the developments revealed at the 2022 artificial intelligence conference.
Who do you know who would find this information interesting?
Please, can you forward the email to them? I’d be very grateful.
Let’s start a conversation - firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next month, keep safe, and keep going.