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Meet 17 Killer Startups Making Death a Little Easier
If the movies have taught us anything it’s that the tech world’s experimentations with death don’t always work out so well – whether it’s Dr. Frankenstein’s eponymous monster or just about every zombie movie, something always seems to go wrong. Still, that hasn’t prevented startups from trying to make our inevitable trips to the hereafter a little easier. Check out 17 companies – from the completely bizarre to the eminently practical – trying to make it work.
A death in the family is always painful – it can also be a logistical nightmare. That’s where New York’s Everplans comes in. The platform walks users through everything from creating a will to instructing your relatives on how to close a cable TV account. AfterSteps, created by a Harvard Business School student, offers a similar service.
Ghost in the Machine
With the slogan “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting,” LIVESON offers a unique take on the afterlife. The startup promises that its AI will analyze your Twitter feed for likes and syntax; after your eventual demise, its tech will continue tweeting as if it were you. Thankfully it’s not yet possible to keep your Instagram account live from the afterlife.
Why should Russian mafia members get all the cool funerary decorations? Minneapolis’ Foreverence lets customers create 3D-printed cremation urns of their own design – everything from ballet slippers to a cowboy hat.
Sure, a will is great for all your material possessions, but what about all those digital assets you’ve got – after all, those 700 Twitter followers didn’t come easy. Law firms are increasingly helping clients bequeath everything from their iTunes library to their Etsy accounts. And Google’s Inactive Account Manager lets you share postmortem access to your Gmail, YouTube, Drive, and more. BestBequest
and Seattle’s Eterniam also help people share access to their digital assets.
Eternime is an MIT startup that will generate a personal avatar, allowing your loved ones to Skype with “you” after death. For the cryogenics fans, LifeNaut promises to create a computer-based avatar that shares your attitudes, mannerisms, and memories by analyzing photos, videos, and documents uploaded by the user. Founded by something called the Terasem Movement Foundation, we can’t be entirely sure that your avatar won’t be a cult member once you’re gone.
Want to send your loved ones a message after you’re gone? How about hate mail to your enemies? Startups like Dead Man’s Switch, Afterwords, Afternote, My Goodbye Message, To Loved Ones all offer the service. Of course, it’s not easy tracking whether people are alive or not, so most companies rely on the user responding to occasional emails asking if they’re alive. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go to the spam folder.
Knotify.Me promises to manage your digital heritage, in the event that you develop amnesia, Alzheimer’s, or just die (seriously, the site addresses people with a fear of getting amnesia). Store all your email and social network logins with Knotify.Me and select recipients can be charged with managing your online afterlife.
Voice of the Ages
Think of it as a digital tape deck – the iOS, Android, and Kindle app The Voice Library offers the opportunity to record stories and personal histories and share them with your loved ones. Or, you could just use the built in voice recorder on your phone.
For Everyone Else
Keep Their Memory Alive (video autoplay warning) helps grieving family memories create a memorial to loved ones online.
Now go forth (and stay healthy).
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