The latest trend in gravestones is to change “here lies” to “here links.” Barcodes much like the ones being slapped on advertisements and billboards are being affixed to headstones to provide mourners ways to connect with the dead online. Forget-me-nots and pansies may wilt, but websites live forever.
When we think about how technology is changing us, we generally think of all the new things in our day-to-day lives (unless you happen to have read too much from Ray Kurzwiel). Now, it seems, technology may soon changing our ideas about death and grieving, too.
Most of us have seen QR codes. You know, those funny arrangements of pixilated black boxes within a square. They are everywhere it seems, from placards in windows of shops to restaurants downtown. And, if you have the right smart phones, you can scan them to see the website or Facebook page of the company. However, the next time you see a QR code might be on a tombstone rather than a company website.
That’s right, the most recent technological change, as SmartMoney points out, is the QR barcode on gravesites.
So, expect to start seeing the QR code bring up a website tribute in memory of a lost loved one, or even the link to a last farewell online. You may even see the deceased speak back when they are visited. It’s a strange concept to many, but quickly embraced by some.
QR codes might continue in popularity and usefulness, and they might just as easily go extinct, taking the bar-coded tombstone with them. You have to admit, though, it’s certainly novel.
The real question this raises is, “How are you going to think of your digital self?” We increasingly exist in a digital world as much as we do in the physical. Nevertheless, we don’t yet plan for the digital world in quite the same way; do we?
As far as “speaking from beyond the grave,” it’s not an entirely new concept. In fact, the “video will” has been around for some time. However, new changes (and human creativity) are beginning to weave together an entire profile to exist indefinitely and speak on many levels.
Will this continue? It’s food for thought, or at least an interesting curiosity. If you’re interested, SmartMoney has more information on bar-coded tombstones.
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Reference: SmartMoney (October 20, 2011) “With A Gravestone Barcode, Tomorrow Never Dies”