Waking the dead

Charles Cowling


 

Spooky stuff here. And in case you catch yourself wondering, no, it is not a spoof, it is deadly serious. Hat tip to Shirley Tatum over at The Modern Mourner for this.

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Turnstyle » Envoy: Social Networking With The Deceased?gloria mundicharlesRupert CallenderJonathan Recent comment authors

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[…] young entrepreneur named Max Dougherty is about to release a new social networking service called Envoy — a site hoping to bridge a digital divide that was previously ignored… the one between […]

gloria mundi
Guest

I don’t like to be harsh, Charles.But.This doesn’t seem to me the same as me talking to my dad, long gone. My call, my thoughts, my fantasies to work through. The active party is me, not something that doesn’t exist, an emotional forgery. To prolong the illusion of a life electronically seems to me to be very different from talking to someone who is not there any more, which as you say seems to be common and, as I remember, helpful, for a while. Couldn’t it be potentially I feel it could be psychically dangerous for some people, precisely because… Read more »

gloria mundi
Guest

Just found this. Much relieved that the GFG group, whilst finding it a very interesting post, gives it the thumbs-down. It is deadly, because it would prevent people from living here and now. It encourages a fatal illusion. Jonathan is right – it’s simply crap. It surely won’t help people grieve, I would think it would stop them living through their own bereavement and take them into la-la land. If this is so obvious to us, why isn’t it to the inventors of it? Or maybe they are so amazingly cynical that they agree it’s deadly, but just want to… Read more »

Rupert Callender
Guest

Happened in 2006 I think. They have now built another one. And yes, fans of his work are indeed called dickheads.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Missing Dickhead? Nah, gotta be a stunt.

Rupert Callender
Guest

Absurd. Like they read Philip K Dick and didn’t get it. Death denial at it’s weirdest.
Talking of Philip K Dick, I presume, Charles you know about his missing digitised head?

Graveyard bunny
Guest
Graveyard bunny

Is it just me or does it sound like they’re ripping off the Dr Who theme tune at around 3.23?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Hi C.B, I think a bit of life before death would come in handy too.

Comfort Blanket
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Comfort Blanket

Hi James. I think the Facebook generation is used to getting what it wants instantly. And that probably includes life after death…

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’d be a little less sceptical of this crap if the dead Chelsea had been able to actually drink the glass of wine her boyfriend had poured for her. But what’s he going to do when the cyber-seance is over? It would seem cannibalistic to drink it. Pour it down the drain? Or into her grave, perhaps, now wouldn’t that be romantic? And if Max Dougherty were to blink more than twice in 5 mins and 20 seconds, I may be able to believe that he was a real human being instead of a product of his own eerie technology.… Read more »

james
Guest

It is creepy to me – phoney baloney. But fascinating. I can see it as an extension of the full triplemetal lined coffin and concreted vaults – traditionally common practice in the US.
I wonder if this apparently death denying syndrome extends to the facebook generation?

Charles Cowling
Guest

Great to hear from you, Thomas, your thoughts as interesting and thought-provoking as ever. I especially like your idea of the ghost in the machine.

CB, I know where you’re coming from. I was musing on it and decided the eeriest thing would be to post a status update and then have a dead person ‘like’ it. The voice definitely still has some way to go!

Comfort Blanket
Guest
Comfort Blanket

OK… I had to stop watching at 4 mins and 38 seconds when the ‘voice’ response kicked in. I don’t think this is a good idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a traditionalist who poo-poo’s new, technological ways of dealing with dying/death/funerals/bereavement/grief etc. But I think this is being clever for clever’s sake. Max starts off by saying there are only two certain things in life – birth and death – but this idea is possibly keeping the bereaved in a ‘suspended’ state and not really moving on from the death of a loved one. That’s my initial response… Read more »

Perpetua's Garden
Guest

Charles, very provocative indeed – albeit only in a pessimistic sense. The development of an application like this certainly opens up lots of questions on the level of reality-awareness of our society. Certainly, the great majority of our so-called “free human behaviors” are nothing more than the mechanical reactions of man-machines; this aspect of a person is thus utterly predictable and usable by applications like this to “reanimate” the dead through algorithms of their past patterns. But machines, including man-machines, cannot be reanimated, since they are intrinsically dead. They can only be replayed, as a recording is replayed. This will… Read more »