Who wants to live forever? Now you can online

22 August 2017

The internet was nothing more than a theory when Queen released 'Who Wants To Live Forever' in 1986...

Who wants to live forever?

Now, the topic of the hit song seems to have become moot with the development of digital versions of ourselves which ensure our social media accounts can continue to chat, like, post and comment long after our physical selves have passed away.

The internet has revolutionised almost every industry in the world and the funeral industry is no different as a number of tech businesses seek ways to create digital profiles that are not limited by the triviality of a natural lifespan. This morning, the BBC reported that a company called Eternime plans to launch a service next summer which will combine artificial intelligence with information customers have placed on their social media accounts to create a digital avatar of that person.

Eternime Founder, Marius Ursache told the BBC: "Depending on the facts it has collected, the avatar will be able to offer anything from basic biographical data to being an engaging conversational partner."

The significance of this development means that people will effectively be able to communicate with us all from beyond the grave in two-way responsive conversations. While this raises enormous ethicality and existential questions, the service has already attracted nearly 40,000 pre-release members despite being a year away from launch.

One service that is already in operation is DeadSocial.org, which allows members to schedule social media posts to be sent out in the event of their death. These can be messages of goodwill or love or even instructions about a funeral service.

Last month an issue surrounding a lack of communication between people taking out funeral plans and their family members surfaced as it became clear that some pre-paid funeral plans were going unused. Storing funeral information digitally, including the whereabouts of pre-paid funeral plan documentation, represents an efficient way to store this information to ensure this type of miscommunication becomes a thing of the past.

Read the full BBC article on how technology could revolutionise the funeral industry here.