Funeral Industry News Grief

Is Skyping with a Dead Loved One Creepy?

February 19, 2014
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Is Skyping with a Dead Loved One Creepy?

Last week we posted an article about – a company that is making it possible for you to talk with artificially intelligent dead loved ones. has created a large amount of chatter about their developing service – even choose as their ‘Weird of the Week’ – a series of articles that looks at some of the most bizarre and niche business ideas they see at Springwise.

We have to ask: What are your thoughts on

Below Article from

Weird Of The Week: This is part of a series of articles that looks at some of the most bizarre and niche business ideas we see here at Springwise.

The death of a loved one is an irreparable loss, but tokens of the departed can help grievers to remember what it was like when they were alive and appreciate their existence. While projects such as DNA Memorial enable future generations to learn more about their passed relatives’ genetic makeup, a new startup called is going much further. By trawling traces of their online activity, the company wants to reconstruct people’s personalities with an artificially intelligent version that friends and family can ‘chat’ to after they’re gone.

The uncanny idea — which bears a striking resemblance to an episode of the UK’sBlack Mirror science fiction series, which explores the dark implications of digital technology — collects together chat logs, text messages, emails and social media posts from the deceased and uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to present what is essentially a chatbot that resembles that person’s online persona. Although the project — which has come out of the MIT Entrepreneurship Development Program — is still in its early stages, users will be able to speak or type questions and prompts to an avatar of their dead relative, who will respond with information gleaned from their online past. According to its creators, the concept is less about ressurrecting the dead and more about unlocking the memories hidden in the trails of their internet usage. If that sounds creepy, CEO Marius Ursache recently assured Fast Company: “We’re very aware we’re not creating a digital clone or anything creepy.”’s essential aim is to lessen the impact of death and ensure that people are remembered after they die — something everyone hopes for. It also taps into a wider trend for dealing with the masses of social media data that’s left after we’re gone. Are there other ways to create tributes to friends and family members using the memories they leave behind?


Photo: Patrick Denker/Flickr