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Is this the future of grieving?

Really! Is this the future of grieving? Quite a long time ago I saw segment on TV. about a person developing holograms so people could still have their loved one there after they died. At the time I thought it would harm the grieving process and confuse the brain.

The research

Dr. Kirsten Smith, a researcher at Oxford University said, “There is evidence from multiple studies that proximity seeking (behaviours aimed at restoring a closeness with the person who died) is actually linked to poorer mental health outcomes”. She also said, “Proximity seeking behaviours may block someone forging a new identity without the deceased person or prevent them from making new meaningful relationships. It might also be a way of avoiding the reality that the person has died – a key factor in adapting to the loss”.

The grieving brain needs to work out the reality of the situation. Your is actually living in two worlds, the world of knowing your loved one has died and you’ll never see them again and the other living in the surreal situation knowing that they’ll walk through than door any minute now.

How people have used it so far

This is the story of Marina Smiths MBE. Marina died at the age of 87 in Nottingham, England. After she was cremated, she appeared as a hologram at her funeral to give a speech about her life and that wasn’t all. She had an interactive program where she was also, able to answer questions of the people who attended her funeral.

It must have been a shock for them. I think this would have played with my mind. ” … Is this a joke? Is she really dead?

William Shatner

William Shatner of Star Trek fame also recorded hours of information and 3D video for future generations. The company he used claims that people will be able to get real answers from him in the future and it won’t be like talking to an avatar, it will feel like you’re talking to him.

BUT will it?

Black Mirror series

I don’t know if you’ve heard or seen the “Black Mirror” series, if you haven’t yet, take a look at this episode. It’s called, ” Be Right Back” where it explored A.I. and grief, it’s series 2, episode 1 on Netflix.

Charlie Brooker wrote this episode after someone he knew died and was later deleting unneeded contacts from his phone. While he was doing this, he felt it disrespectful in some way and that got the creative juices going.

It’s interesting, the ‘what if’s…’ and what you ask of your dead loved one. Do you rely on the A.I too much? Can you go on with your life without the A.I? Interesting right!

What you get from a funeral parlour

There’s a digital funeral service in China using life-like avatars of the deceased. At the funeral it uses an A.I. image generator which mimics the person’s voice, memories and appearance. They claim that this helps grievers to relive special memories and say goodbye.

My thoughts

I don’t know if I’d like to be an A.I. image after I die because I don’t know if it will perfectly represent me. I know it will change over time because A.I. learns and changes appropriately and over time it won’t be me anymore, if it ever was.

I’m concerned about those grieving not being able to let go of the hologram. Grieving is about learning to live in the world without your loved one and working out how to live without them. I can see that some people would hold on to being able to talk to their loved one because this is what we wish for. We just want one more day with our loved ones. We didn’t know that the last time we saw them would be the actual last time ever.

I’d love to know what you think because I think this might be the future and I don’t know if it’s a healthy future for the human race.

Wow! That was a bit dramatic but I’m challenged by the thought of A.I. being our companions rather than a human.

As I said, let me know your thoughts.

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