Yesterday’s post about death and digital file access sparked some great comments. Check out that post if you haven’t. For all my posts related to this subject, click the Death link in the categories drop down.
A new-ish development is the idea of interactive gravestones. A QR Code (standing for Quick Response) can be affixed to the stone, scanned with a smartphone and will bring up a webpage dedicated to the memory of the person. if QR Codes are new to you, the Wikipedia article on them gives you a quick run down.
My Dad has a hobby – walking round graveyards and reading their inscriptions. I got brought along on these country strolls as a child and we’d often search old churchyards hunting for the oldest stone or the most interesting inscriptions.
Now with a QR Code you could actually see a photo of the person and read about their life, legacy and loved ones. Amazing. Funeral companies such as funeral Chester Pearce of Poole, Dorset are offering them for around £300.
For more, there’s a great article in the Guardian on this.
So, would you use the QR Code technology if a loved one passed away? And what about yourself? Would you create a page while you are living that the QR Code would link to?
This seems to tie in with a few of my posts about the way digital technology is affecting our relationship with death…are we able to speak beyond the grave somehow, by communicating via a webpage when someone visits our grave? Is this a symptom of our fear of death as the end of our ability to communicate? Are we wanting to use technology to remove the sting and the silence that death brings?
Clearly even thought we may be able to ‘live on’ in some virtual way through a QR code linked to a website, we are still physically dead. This reality is not changed. But it does seemingly give us a power to keep speaking in a way that was previously less possible. Technology is and always has been, a pushing of the boundaries of possibility. Transhumanism and posthumanism mark the future course; when technology enables us to become so superior to our current abilities that we will move beyond our current definition as ‘human’ to being something ‘posthuman’. These small steps are part of that long journey.