Feb 1 • 18M

Now The Dead Can Talk Back - How Do We Respond When They Do?

The Art of Memorialising - Edition #8 - February 2022

Open in playerListen on);
Welcome to The Art of Memorialising - an audio newsletter by Peter Billingham from Death Goes Digital and Memorable Words Eulogy Writing services. The Art of Memorialising curates news on digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation and all things #Deathtech. Thanks for being here.
Episode details

What can you do to stay informed about digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation, and all things #Deathtech?

Being ahead in this changing marketplace and cultural transformation could help you spot trends, and find opportunities to promote and grow your end-of-life or funeral business.

Welcome to The Art of Memorialising - an audio newsletter by Peter Billingham from Death Goes Digital and Memorable Words Eulogy Writing services.

The Art of Memorialising curates 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 -

Johanna Sumiala is an Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Helsinki and author of Mediated Death published by Polity. 

What Will You Find In This Issue?

  • Whoa! Hang on a minute - Digital Devices (Access for Next of Kin) Bill is gaining momentum to possibly become law in the UK.

  • Start-up Spotlights on the beta launch of Time Capzule and Legacy Stories websites.

  • How recording the soundtrack of someone in your family member could make their memories live on to future generations. 

Is There Anybody There? 

Picture the scene. 

It’s a darkened room, heavy with anticipation. The air is as thick as the ruby velvet curtains and matching tablecloth where six curious and anxious people sit holding hands - waiting. Hesitant. Hopeful even. 

‘Is there anybody there?’

The questioning voice is asking for a reply from the world where those who have passed over now dwell.

Sometimes mysterious, and sometimes nothing but a hoax. That feels even more sad as some of those living want to connect with their dead loved ones.

Whether you believe in life after death, or you believe in nothing at all, there is within many people a deep desire, a wish, believing maybe it really is possible to speak to those they love who have passed away.

In the month when we mark fifty years since the world’s first cryonic preserved human wanted to remain immortal, we ask, ‘Now The Dead Can Talk Back - How Do We Respond When Then Do?’ 

That’s one question the sponsor of this month’s newsletter asks in her new book, Mediated Death.

As never before, digital technologies, among them artificial intelligence, offer you the possibilities for immortalisation novel in human history. These technological advancements enable the dead to talk back to us in certain respects. Are we on the cusp of a brave new afterlife world?

Let’s explore further.

Dr Debra Bassett, a digital afterlife academic, and guest of the Death Goes Digital Podcast, (back as a PhD researcher then!) explained in a 2018 paper. (via The Metro)

‘The Internet is providing a platform where ‘ordinary’ people can remain socially active following biological death, which was once the realm of the rich and famous in society.’

(Think Disney and the myth of whether he was cryogenically preserved.)

But it’s her caution going forward into that brave new afterlife world catching my attention.

Her fear is of what she calls the ‘second loss’ – a theory she originated.

‘Digital immortality does not exist – digital endurance only exists whilst the companies that hold the data exist.’

And losing that data could be like losing your loved ones all over again.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?


Digital Devices (Access for Next of Kin) Bill - UK

To give it the full name - ‘A Bill to grant a right of access to the digital devices of a dead or incapacitated person to their next of kin; and for connected purposes.’

Simply put - Your next of kin will have the right to access your smart phone and your other digital devices on your death or incapacity.

You can (and possibly should) read MP Ian Paisley’s speech in parliament, here. You can check the ongoing progress of the bill, here.

More news and information next month and look out for a blog at Death Goes Digital

Startup Spotlights - Timecapzle and Legacy Stories 


Launching a beta platform into the end-of-life/digital life curation marketplace is Timecapzle

Timecapzle (via the website) By capturing the true essence of an individual, they can then generate their digital persona - a digital twin.

With Timecapzle, you can access the services of:

Lineage - Lineage is a service designed for the preservation of a person’s identity in a family tree fashion.

Persona - Persona is an AI replication of your person. Persona provides comfort and wisdom to those living today that will be available whenever they need throughout their life.

Interpersonal - Timecapzle sends people to create the foundation for your digital legacy. They professionally capture everything to bring you the highest quality video and the most detailed profile.

The mission of Timecapzle is interesting. They donate 7% of profits providing food, education, and clean water to people everywhere.

Legacy Stories 

Legacy Stories (via issuewire) announced the launch of its new website, www.legacystories.com. Legacy Stories wants to create a fresh approach to preserving family history.

The website offers four levels of family history preservation, making it easier than ever to capture the stories of family members before it’s too late.

Professional Legacy Stories StoryKeepers will conduct the interviews and produce high-quality digital memoirs that provide an invaluable legacy for future generations.

Heard of a startup in digital life curation or #Deathtech?

Please let me know. Email info@deathgoesdigital.com

Sponsored Product or Service

Mediated Death is a must-read for scholars and students of communication studies, as well as general readers interested in exploring the meaning of mediated death in contemporary society.

Among many interesting observations and questions, Johanna Sumiala asks how digital mourning on social media channels has altered people’s attitudes to death in society. To find out more - Check out the detailed guest blog post at Death Goes Digital. Or check out the book’s details at the publisher Polity.

Interested in sharing your new product or service with readers of The Art of Memorialising? (check here)

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 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 - Making my Dad’s Desert Island Discs

‘His voice became my constant companion.’

BBC News correspondent Dan Johnson kept his dad’s memory alive by recording the soundtrack of his life. (via BBC News

It made him consider the importance of preserving the memories of loved ones.

‘… if you have the opportunity, make the most of it - get something recorded. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. The reflections and insights are powerful…’

Also - This is 5 Minutes On: Making my Dad’s Desert Island Discs.

2 - Personal.ai Awarded Eureka Park Accessibility Award at CES 2022

CES is the most influential tech based event in the world. Personal.ai, (who we have profiled here on the newsletter before) received the Eureka Park Accessibility Award. (via Personal.ai blog) Awarded to companies that show innovation in the development of accessible technology and inclusive technology that enhances humanity.

3 - Digital legacies – Are We Ready to be Surrounded by Virtual Ghosts? (via The metro.co.uk)

Excellent article in The Metro, worth a read.

(From the article) ‘Thanks to 21st-century technology, the dead are far from hidden these days. Family members can log onto their Facebook accounts to share updates about the deceased’s lives, wishing they were there as a form of contact… Nowadays we can easily carry the deceased around in our pockets...’

4 - Your Ai Personal Digital Twin® Wants to Say Hi - Mindbank.ai

Mindbank.ai (who we have profiled here on the newsletter) announced, with a drum roll, the beta version of the platform is being launched. Their vision is to be the world’s most trusted guardians of your Personal Digital Twin®.

Using cutting edge cognitive analysis, users can get valuable insights into their life now, understanding how your mind works. Guided questions help train your digital twin to know your life story so you can live forever through data. Immortality through data, however, is a byproduct, but not the core focus of Mindbank.ai. 

5 - The Nike Designers Who Started an Online Cremation Service (via Bloomberg

Keith Crawford and David Odusanya started Solace in April 2019. Timing is everything in business, but they could not have expected how the world would need their idea. As often the story of entrepreneurship is told, experiencing the death of parents, both Crawford and Odusanya wondered how they could radically redesign the funeral process. Solace is their answer. Are Solace and companies similar going to transform the funeral industry?

Thanks to the team at Whiteballoon for sending the link about Solace. 

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 - info@deathgoesdigital.com

Until next month, keep safe, and keep going.