We’ve seen great movements towards designing new tools and technology to improve aging and the end of life experience for the generation of baby boomers; But how can technology and design aid those who are left behind after their loved one has already passed?
After the recent passing of my grandmother and uncle, I’ve observed the different ways different people grieve and cope with death. One thing for sure is that death affects and changes you.
In the tech world, I have seen some interesting and borderline creepy innovations pop up surrounding the aftermath of death. For example, Eterni Me allows you to become virtually immortal, allowing loved ones to Skype an AI version of yourself built on your social media data that mimics your look and mannerisms.
The concept of talking to “dead people” is a bit unnerving to say the least, however I recently came upon this start-up that allows your to connect with your loved one beyond in a more charming style similar to the movie, PS I Love You, and the viral tear-jerker Medium article, When I’m Gone.
Safe Beyond allows their users to record messages that will be sent to their loved ones posthumously, like a digital time capsule. They can be sent on special dates and can also be geo-tagged so recipients can receive them at certain locations. As illustrated in their video (below), a father can record a digital message that will be sent to his daughter on her wedding day, knowing he will not be there to walk her down the aisle. In this way, the deceased can still be present with their loved ones.
Safe Beyond’s site opens with a quote from the late Steve Jobs’ well-known Stanford commencement speech on the truths of dying and living.
And I’ll leave you with that.
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.
And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs