In the world of the 21stcentury, science has seen countless advancements in various fields from biomedical all the way to quantum physics. Technology has revolutionised the way we live. Humans are more connected, no matter the distance between them or the time zone one lives in. We can all thank the Internet for this radical gift. Yet, just as it has enhanced our quality of life, technology has also shaped and influenced the way we approach the topic of death.
It is a universal fact that humans fear death. We are afraid to die. We are also afraid of its presence. In various cultures, we have tried to personify death or pin a label to it – The Grim Reaper, the Angel of Death, etc. A house that has been visited by death is one of solemnity and gripped with fear. It is a fear and a knowing that this fate is inevitable. Humans have tried to combat death since time immemorial. Pursuing the myth and quest of immortality, the boundaries of science and technology have constantly been pushed. Many people study and enter the field of doctors and nurses because they want to save people from death. To become a healer is to be a part of that life-giving process. Yet, with all our medicine and knowledge, we know that this quest is irrational. Death is irreversible and inescapable; we can only live in the now and improve what we were bestowed.
But with the introduction of artificial intelligence, some people still try to find ways to beat death. The CEO of an AI start-up company programmed a chatbot to simulate text messages sent from their deceased friend. The idea was that talking to the chatbot would feel like having a conversation with the actual person, as if they were still alive and around. One could argue that the Internet and high technology of our society was the modern equivalent to the fabled elixir of immortality.
It is now possible for people to replicate their personality through the use of robots and artificial intelligence. Technology could learn how to speak and behave like living people. Moreover, every person generates and leaves behind a trail of data, given how integral the Internet has become to our lives. One might pass on, but in the virtual world, they might very well continue to live on as data.
There may be a number of ways one can scam death through technology. However, technology can impede the process of grief, becoming an unhealthy tool against one’s psyche. To be suddenly reminded of a loss while browsing through social media might trigger extreme emotions. In light of this issue, social media giants such as Instagram and Facebook have implemented protocols for memorialisation. This is to shut down accounts that are inactive, whose owners have already passed on.
For proper mourning, we help every family hold funeral services in Singapore to pay their final respects.