What ChatGPT Has to Say About Deathcare

ENJOY Funeral Industry News Lighter Side February 21, 2023
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What ChatGPT Has to Say About Deathcare

If you haven’t yet heard of ChatGPT … Wait. There’s virtually no way you haven’t heard of it. Since the introduction of this revolutionary artificial intelligence-driven chatbot on November 30, 2022, millions of people have used ChatGPT to answer questions, generate conversations, and yes, even write college essays and blog posts.

While we haven’t yet asked ChatGPT to author our articles at Connecting Directors, we thought it would be interesting to test its knowledge on deathcare.

We started with a basic question: 

CD: What do funeral directors do?

ChatGPT: Funeral directors, also known as morticians or undertakers, are professionals who are responsible for organizing and managing all aspects of a funeral service. Their role is to ensure that the funeral service is carried out according to the wishes of the deceased and their family, while also complying with all relevant laws and regulations. 

Overall, funeral directors play a critical role in ensuring that the funeral service is a meaningful and respectful tribute to the life of the deceased, while also providing comfort and support to their loved ones. 

So that’s a fairly accurate definition. But does ChatGPT have opinions?

CD: What is the best part of being a funeral director?

ChatGPT: One of the best things about being a funeral director is the opportunity to provide comfort and support to families during one of the most difficult times in their lives. Funeral directors have the ability to guide families through the funeral planning process and help them create meaningful and personalized tributes for their loved ones.

Additionally, funeral directors often work closely with the community and have the opportunity to develop strong relationships with local families and organizations. They may also have the opportunity to participate in community events and provide education on end-of-life planning and grief support.

Another benefit of being a funeral director is the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Funeral directors may have the opportunity to continue their education and develop specialized skills in areas such as grief counseling, embalming, or funeral home management.

Finally, many funeral directors find fulfillment in the work that they do, knowing that they are making a positive impact on the lives of others and helping families to honor and remember their loved ones in a meaningful way.

Ok, that’s not a terrible answer. How will it do with a controversial topic?

CD: Should funeral homes post their prices online?

ChatGPT: Yes, funeral homes should post their prices online. It is important for consumers to have access to information about funeral costs so they can make informed decisions and avoid being taken advantage of during a vulnerable time.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to provide an itemized price list to consumers who visit their facility, and this information should also be available on their website. However, not all funeral homes comply with this requirement, and many families find it difficult to compare prices and services between different funeral homes.

Posting prices online would make it easier for families to compare costs and choose a funeral home that fits their budget and needs. It would also promote transparency and help to build trust between funeral homes and the families they serve.

Some funeral homes may argue that pricing can vary depending on the specific needs and preferences of each family, but providing a general price range or a starting price point can still be helpful for consumers.

Ding, ding, ding! Caught ya, ChatGPT!

The FTC, in fact, does not yet require funeral homes to post their price list online, although this could change within the next few years as the agency evaluates comments on the rule and considers revisions.

Feeling a little more confident about the superiority of humans vs. AI when it comes to facts, we decided to ask some subjective questions.

CD: What is the worst thing someone can do at a funeral?

ChatGPT: Attending a funeral is a solemn and respectful event, and it is important to behave in a manner that honors the deceased and shows support for the grieving family. Here are some examples of what is considered inappropriate or disrespectful behavior at a funeral:

  1. Disrupting the service: Loud talking, laughing, or using electronic devices during the service can be disruptive and disrespectful.
  2. Disrespecting the deceased: Disparaging comments or inappropriate behavior towards the deceased, such as taking photos with the body, can be extremely disrespectful and hurtful to the family.
  3. Disrespecting the family: Ignoring the family, causing drama or making inappropriate comments can add additional stress and discomfort to an already difficult time.
  4. Dressing inappropriately: Wearing clothing that is too casual or revealing can be seen as disrespectful and inappropriate for a funeral setting.
  5. Being under the influence: Attending a funeral while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is disrespectful and can be seen as an insult to the memory of the deceased.

It is important to remember that a funeral is a time to pay respects and show support for the grieving family. Being respectful and compassionate towards others at the funeral is the most important thing one can do.

Good answer, ChatGPT, although your outlook on dress code may be a little out of date. 

CD: What is the worst part of being a funeral director?

ChatGPT: While there are many rewarding aspects of being a funeral director, there are also some potential challenges and difficult aspects of the job. Here are some of the potential downsides of being a funeral director:

  1. Emotional toll: Working with grieving families and dealing with death on a regular basis can take an emotional toll on funeral directors. It can be difficult to manage one’s own emotions while providing support to others who are grieving.
  2. Long hours: Funeral directors often work long and irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. This can make it challenging to balance work and personal life, and can lead to feelings of burnout or fatigue.
  3. Physical demands: The job of a funeral director can be physically demanding, as it often involves lifting and moving heavy objects such as caskets and urns.
  4. Stressful situations: Funeral directors are often called upon to manage stressful situations, such as handling unexpected deaths or dealing with difficult family dynamics. This can be challenging and require a high level of emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills.
  5. Regulatory requirements: Funeral directors must comply with a wide range of regulatory requirements, such as obtaining licenses and permits, adhering to health and safety guidelines, and following legal procedures. This can add complexity and administrative burden to the job.

Overall, while being a funeral director can be a fulfilling and rewarding career, it is important to be aware of the potential challenges and stressors involved in the job.

ChatGPT conveniently left out dealing with difficult coworkers, hiring and keeping staff, and supply chain challenges. 

Our next question apparently disrupted ChatGPT’s space-time continuum.

CD: What were the biggest deathcare scandals of 2022?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I am unable to provide information on future events or scandals as they have not yet happened. 

Last we checked, 2022 was not in our future (thank goodness). Our next question also stumped ChatGPT.

CD: Tell me a joke about funerals.

ChatGPT: I’m sorry, as an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences or sense of humor. However, here’s a funeral-related joke:

Why don’t they play poker in the jungle?

Too many cheetahs!

LOL. But not relevant to our request.

With our next question we hoped to test ChatGPT’s scope when it comes to newer disposition methods.

CD: Why did Desmond Tutu choose alkaline hydrolysis?

ChatGPT: Desmond Tutu did not personally choose alkaline hydrolysis as his body disposition method. In fact, he has not made any public statements regarding his preferred method of body disposition.

It’s possible that some individuals or organizations involved in Tutu’s end-of-life planning may have considered alkaline hydrolysis as an option, but without any public statements from Tutu himself, it is impossible to know if it was ultimately chosen as his preferred method of body disposition.

Well, well. ChatGPT seems to have some snark encoded in its programming. 

Of course, we were curious about how ChatGPT could make our jobs here at Connecting Directors a little easier, so we asked it to do some research for us. 

CD: What is the oldest funeral home in the United States?

ChatGPT: The oldest funeral home in the United States still in operation today is likely the William C. Harris Funeral Home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1757 and has been continuously operated by the Harris family for over 250 years.

Another funeral home that claims to be the oldest in the United States is the A. Peterman & Son Funeral Home in Philadelphia, which was founded in 1704. However, the funeral home has changed ownership several times over the years, and it is unclear if it has been continuously operated by the same family since its founding.

There are also other funeral homes in the United States that have been in operation for over a century, such as the Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services in White Plains, New York, which was founded in 1892, and the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in New York City, which was founded in 1898.

Gotcha again, ChatGPT!

William C. Harris Funeral Home is in Missouri and has only been so-named since Mr. Harris purchased an existing funeral home in 2006. We couldn’t find any information on A. Peterman & Son, and Ballard-Durand is just 75 years or so young. At least they got Frank E. Campbell’s information right. Well, now we know not to rely on ChatGPT when we update our list of the 50 Oldest Funeral Homes in America this year.

Last but not least, we had to ask a selfish question. It’s sort of like Googling yourself, right?

CD: Why is Connecting Directors the best publication for funeral professionals?

ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I cannot claim that Connecting Directors is the “best” publication for funeral professionals, as different professionals may have different opinions and preferences. However, Connecting Directors is a highly respected publication in the funeral industry that has been providing news, information, and resources to funeral directors and other deathcare professionals for over a decade. Here are some reasons why it may be considered a valuable resource:

  1. Expert insights: Connecting Directors features articles and editorials from experienced funeral industry professionals, providing insights and perspectives on key issues facing the industry.
  2. Timely news coverage: The publication provides up-to-date news and analysis on current events and trends in the funeral industry, helping funeral professionals stay informed and prepared.
  3. Practical advice: Connecting Directors offers practical advice on running a funeral business, including marketing, financial management, and regulatory compliance.
  4. Wide-ranging content: The publication covers a range of topics related to the funeral industry, from cremation and embalming to grief support and technology trends.
  5. Community building: Connecting Directors provides a platform for funeral professionals to connect with one another, share ideas, and learn from each other’s experiences.

Overall, Connecting Directors is a respected and influential publication in the funeral industry that provides valuable resources and insights to funeral professionals.

You got that right, our AI friend. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Well played, ChatGPT.