Before the relationship between technology and memorial service, it is necessary to understand several contradictions in the current traditional funeral market. This may be the key point that technology can bring about changes.
One of the contradictions is the conflict between traditional funeral culture and modern life.
We know that ghost worship developed in the early days of human ignorance, which gave birth to some customs of “things die as things live”. There were also a series of standardized mourning rituals such as Ding You in the feudal era. In modern times, influenced by thoughts such as “breaking the four olds”, the etiquette carrying the pain of bereavement has been greatly simplified, and only a farewell or simple memorial service is obviously contrary to humanity for people who have been emotionally traumatized. of. Between the red tape and the hasty simplicity, how to find a balance, while satisfying the modern fast-paced life, can also comfort the relatives’ psychology and emerge from the shadow as soon as possible. It is necessary to think.
The second contradiction is the conflict between multiple market choices and the status quo of the industry.
As mentioned above, death is unlucky for ordinary Chinese and is taboo. Even the Arabic numeral 4 was “expelled” from elevators and telephone numbers. I didn’t say anything before, but once related incidents occur, I am faced with a situation of lack of knowledge and helplessness. It is obviously not an easy task to quickly find a qualified, serious and conviction service organization. Especially when China’s funeral and interment industry has unclear access standards and low market entry barriers, it is basically in a state of disorderly competition and isolation, which makes it easier for funeralists to leave psychological and financial regrets. Since this industry is not the key to people’s livelihood and the investment return period is long, opening up the market may not reach a high level for a while.
The third contradiction is the conflict between existing service capabilities and humanistic care.
The contradiction between market demand and commercial value directly leads to the difficulty of the current memorial form and service to be people-oriented. For example, in the design of cemeteries, most of them are still full of horror. Not to mention the modern tools of Bluetooth tombstones, ordinary people may feel uncomfortable nearby, let alone “be cautiously chasing farther” in a good environment.
For the bereaved, follow-up services can well make up for the sense of loss that can never be seen again. Visiting and mourning can also alleviate the “sense of loss”, which is of great significance for re-starting the path of life. .
The founder of Lin Yin Cemetery, Eaton Hubert, turned a traditional cemetery into a memorial park, and many concepts were even borrowed by Disneyland in Los Angeles. His words changed my view of memorial service and death. In his view, “Memorial Park is different from ordinary cemeteries, just as sunlight is different from darkness, and immortality is different from death. To build a memorial park into a place where couples like to walk, watch the sunset, plan the future or remember the past, painter We can study sketching here, and teachers can lead students to watch what they have read in books, and mourning and relief are strengthened, because this is God’s garden.”
To establish such a memorial culture and infrastructure in reality, obviously cannot be accomplished overnight. But in the cyber world, everything is changing in the virtual digital space composed of 0 and 1.
Starting from “sharing tombstones”, let’s talk about the commemoration of the digital age
The penetration of the Internet into society and life has also brought digital mourning and memorials to the public.
The Internet has become an excellent carrier. It does not solve the actual health problems related to death, but also provides a way to connect the present and the past, recreating those who can no longer be with us in memory ; It is also used to commemorate those respectable people. It is the connection between people and people who don’t know each other, and to light candles for the people who died behind each virtual account. It is a connection between time and space and life and death.
Specifically, there are several ways that science and technology can participate in commemorative activities:
One is to break the limitations of geography and time and space.
For example, virtual services such as online memorial halls can be used to pay homage and pay homage online anywhere and at any time. Everest, a US startup company, aims to attract young people in their 20s to think about what is going on in the digital world, calling on people to choose to commemorate online. It already has more than 20 million users. The United Kingdom Association of Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) also voiced support for digitalization, believing that this would allow the industry to face stricter supervision and provide better services to families.
This kind of feeling that pays more attention to the spiritual level is more convenient for civilization, and of course it may be insufficient in the sense of ritual.
The second is to restore the voice and appearance of the deceased.
With the help of neural network algorithms such as GAN, a few sentences corpus can be used to generate a person’s voice dialogue, which can help the survivors reduce their grief within a period of time, and the emotions will gradually recover after a certain period of adaptation.
Many people who died due to accidents are often unable to hold a farewell ceremony due to physical damage, which makes their families deeply regretful. Using the automatic generation technology of smart facial scanning, data collection and face reconstruction can be completed efficiently. Help the plastic surgeon to repair the appearance, showing human care.
In the movie “Top Secret Files”, after the protagonist died, he invested his consciousness on the AI robot he designed. It can also bring inspiration. When we need to say goodbye, it may be feasible to communicate and talk with virtual characters simulated by the machine until finally face reality and bid farewell.Plan.
The third is to optimize the service experience of the funeral industry.
Digital identity and digital life also make pre-mortem data a memorable finance. Yahoo launched its end-of-life service “Yahoo Ending” in 2014. Users can set up in advance to automatically stop charged network services and delete mailbox data after their death. However, it was terminated due to the low number of participants.
Since everyone is not motivated to take the initiative to arrange, then the digital service behind them is very necessary. Japan’s PC Service, in cooperation with the funeral service company SAN Holdings, opened the “digital relic support service”, entrusted by the bereaved to process the information on the computer of the deceased relative, the main service content includes cracking the computer login password, obtaining or Delete data, etc. Data recovery company Data Salvage also provides a digital relic sorting service “LxxE” to help many people get the photo data left in their mobile phones.
Fourth is to help service organizations such as cemeteries optimize management.
The funeral industry is a relatively low-frequency closed market. It is easy to fall into long-term business problems in management, such as operation and maintenance. Over time, the environment will become dilapidated and need to be repaired; or operating expenses will increase. Had to sell the plan first. A country with a low birthrate like Japan still has problems such as an increase in the number of singles and a sharp drop in the demand for long-term services. The Bluetooth shared tombstone mentioned at the beginning is an economical option that appeared because many people considered that there might be no chance of being cherished by posterity after a hundred days. It only costs 290,000 yen for 13 years.
Can these problems be changed by intelligent systems? Of course it is. For example, use big data to make reasonable decisions and expand the scale of the cemetery, and automate routine maintenance and environmental management. But these are just ideas. The premise is that the industry has the will and needs to carry out digital innovation and transformation. Judging from the current market environment, perhaps this day is still far away.
The closer to the end of life, the fewer scenarios where technology can be used, and the less stamina for economic value conversion. It is at these stages that the human brilliance of technology is commendable, and it always guards the dignity of our lives.