Welcome to the fifth edition of The Art of Memorialising, a monthly newsletter. (free at the moment) by Peter Billingham from Death Goes Digital and Memorable Words Eulogy Writing. Thanks for reading.
The Art of Memorialising is news about digital immortality, digital legacy, digital life curation and all things #Deathtech. Helping you keep up with this fast changing marketplace and spot opportunities for your business.
In this month’s issue, we focus on how you can create digital immortality for yourself or using AI can preserve the lives of those you love online forever.
GoodTrust are the sponsors of this month’s edition.
The easy, safe and inexpensive way to safeguard your digital assets and share them with loved ones today or after you pass away.
What Will You Find Here This Month?
Our ‘Memorialisation Morsels’ highlight:
Dead Happy - Death Wishes - want to have a bronze statue made of you when you die? Now you can.
How the conversation around digital immortality through AI and holograms went celebrity mainstream.
Leading industry voices saying the marketplace for end-of-life businesses is ready to boom.
How one funeral provider is going cryptocurrency for its families.
Among many other fascinating Digital Legacy, Digital Life Curation & #Deathtech developments.
THANK YOU for being here. Let’s discover the future through - The Art of Memorialising.
Who Else Wants To Live Forever?
Do you remember Freddie Mercury asking, ‘Who Wants To Live Forever?’
Well, do you?
Do you want to keep on living?
I’ve always answered yes, of course! But - only if those I love will do as well.
What about you? Do you want to live forever?
I’m not talking here about the movement to eradicate mortality. Though I have just read Lifespan by David A. Sinclair, PhD, who believes ageing is not as inevitable as we think. It could even be reversed. Fascinating book and well worth the time of my life, I gave over to reading it. The book is suggesting ageing is like a disease we could eradicate. The idea and consequences should it be the case are issues we will face, as undoubtedly people are going to be living longer for sure.
But that’s not what I mean about living forever.
No. What I’m talking about is digital immortality. Having a ‘Digital Twin’ who lives forever.
There is growing understanding and acceptance that anyone who has used digital technology will leave traces behind after they die. The question: what do you want your digital legacy to be?
I’m noticing a change in the lexicon and conversation about digital immortality. Back in 2016, when I started Death Goes Digital, the words were more warning based, a fearful approach - now it’s changed to a voice of hope, a growing chorus of positivity and optimism about the opportunities becoming available. For you to choose, write and preserve your life, and the lives of those you love online.
You now can live forever! (Online)
Digital immortality is available to anyone at a price that would surprise you. Read on to find out how.
Startup Spotlights - Mind Bank AI & Hearafter AI
If we need to know information today, it’s a quick search on Google. Becoming more common, and less novel, is asking Siri.
First, filled with curiosity it would be, ‘Siri, tell me a joke.’ ‘Siri, what is the weather today?’ ‘Siri, do you love me?’ But it’s losing its novelty. It’s becoming normal to ask a machine for information and ‘it’ telling you the answer.
What if, in the future, instead of asking Siri, you could ask your mother or father, who passed away many years before, actual questions? And they answer - or their digital twin does?
Does that make your skin shiver? Or your mind alive with the possibility that some part of you will never die?
‘You’ - your knowledge, opinions and past could live on in an immortal digital twin? That’s the passion, possibilities and potential Emil Jimenez imagines.
This full article by B. David Zarley (via bigthink.com) is certainly worth the investment in time to read. Zarley tells of how Jimenez observes the simple and accepting relationship his young daughter develops with Siri, and, perceptively, the questions she asks the AI. Jimenez ponders the way his daughter speaks to her phone as a person she knows, what if she could talk to him in such a way after he has passed away? The aim of his start up Mind Bank AI does just that - it creates a digital twin built across your lifetime.
In life it allows you to reflect and remember, in death it allows you to respond - the ‘You’, of course, is your digital twin.
With Mind Bank AI app you can:
Respond to questions about your life so it learns how you think, your loves and joys, challenges and sadness.
Reflect and learn about your mind, and understand how and why you think in a certain way or about specific issues.
Build your life story online - memory by memory - knowing you have full control over who sees your story and who you share it with.
This pursuit of conversational apps will seem novel, maybe even weird now, but the generations of today will be tomorrow’s users connected in life, and possibly in death with those they love.
For James Vlahos, this digital pursuit was not one of just intellectual interest, computer science or business, it was a race again death, to record a life - his fathers, John James Vlahos.
In, ‘A Son’s Race to Give His Dying Father Artificial Immortality’ (via Wired) James accounts the emotional quest to record the oral histories of his father, and to preserve the personality, gumption and humour of the man through developing ‘Dadbot’ a chatbot to communicate with his dad.
Eighty years old and struggling with stage IV cancer, time was not an unlimited resource. It’s amazing, though, how when time is short, what people can accomplish and Hereafter AI is the result.
Sadly, John James Vlahos passed away in 2017. But James continues to preserve his legacy by giving others the opportunity to record and remember loved ones. I unreservedly recommend reading the article - not only for the great writing - but for the story of how The Art of Memorialising is beyond just technology, but touches deep within the unending need we all have to be connected to those we love - forever.
With Hereafter AI you can:
Chat with a trained life story interviewer who records your conversations.
After editing and producing the sound files, they store them online.
You and your family can listen wherever and whenever to these stories.
Use an app in development - StoryKeeper. This asks significant questions to get stories flowing. Then it records the answers for your family to listen to on an interactive platform.
Other Start Up News
Thanks to Helen Dawson. In her recently launched Newfangled for noticing - Top 4 Death Tech Start-ups killing it in 2021 (though noticing as I do the title a little strange) but the article worth a read. Also, thanks to Helen for pointing out Dead Happy in the memorialisation morsels below.
Heard of a startup in #Deathtech? Please let me know.
Sponsored Product - GoodTrust
GoodTrust helps protect the digital lives and legacy of everyone. No one knows what will happen to their digital “stuff” when they die. GoodTrust helps families who lost someone protect the digital presence and memory.
GoodTrust, have released a multi-chapter Ultimate Guide to End of Life Planning. The comprehensive guide details every critical step necessary to plan and properly memorialise a loved one after passing.
The free guide covers:
Choosing guardians for children and pets
How to choose a digital will executor
Prepare “future messages” to have sent
How to pre-plan your funeral
Deactivating subscriptions and social media
Safeguarding digital documents
How to write an obituary and host a celebration of life
Want To Promote Your Product or Service?
Interested in telling the audience of The Art of Memorialising about what you do? Get In Touch Here.
MM’s (Memorialisation Morsels) 5 meaty bites of news for YOU to stay ahead of the conversation on Digital Legacy, Digital Life Curation & #Deathtech developments.
They formed DeadHappy in 2013 to provide a place where people could think about, plan for, and share what they want to happen when they shuffle off this mortal coil. To start a conversation, and hopefully, one day change attitudes towards death. (via Dead Happy About Page) What is unique and creative, demonstrating I believe changing attitudes around thinking about death and dying, is the development of a Death Wish. After you die, would you want to pay for your grandchildren’s education? Buy someone a car? Pay someone to take your rubbish bins? (Yes, for real) Simply, it’s taking out a life assurance plan. But avoiding the jargon of policies, it identifies the reasons we should all die responsibly. Innovative marketing.
2 - How Tech Is Helping People Remember Their Deceased Loved Ones (via The Next web)
Interesting article from The Next Web. Highlighting again the growing conversation around the development of websites, apps and software for the end-of-life, digital legacy, and online memorial marketplace. Fascinating to read. Kanye West gave Kim Kardashian birthday hologram of her dead father. Not new in the world of funerals - I wrote about this back in 2016, at Death Goes Digital.
A deep insight into the marketplace innovations it presents to entrepreneurs to launch, build, and grow businesses to meet the changing needs of consumers. Identifying start-ups making waves (most already mentioned in previous newsletters), but what caught my eye was the ‘Techie Speak’ (read complicated) paragraph from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Keith Rabois. Simply there are lots of opportunity to make a successful business!
According to PRwire. As part of eziFunerals business model vision of pioneering alternative and non-traditional ways supporting families in time of need, accepting cryptocurrency extends that pioneering vision. Owner and Founder, Peter Erceg, sees allowing for payments for funeral good and services by cryptocurrency a natural progression. Will others follow, I wonder?
Ready to launch into the UK funeral price comparison and funeral booking sites is Memorialise. Started by The Bereavement Advice Service, along with Live Stream Services Ltd, they created Memorialise. It is an online resource which provides end-of-life services and information, price comparisons, news and information for the public and funeral professionals. There are several sites offering similar information, each with their own unique approach. For example, Beyond Life. Back in the early days of Death Goes Digital, we highlighted the Founder, James Dunn, when the business was FuneralBooker. James has now moved on to new projects, but you can read his prophetic views here about how the funeral industry could change in the future here.
Thanks for reading!
Who’d you know who would find this information interesting? Please, can you forward the email to them? I’d be very grateful.
I’d love to hear from you.
Until next month, keep safe, and keep going.