Financial TimesFinancial Times

‘Grief tech’ avatars aim to take the sting out of death

By Anjana Ahuja

21 Dec 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

The trend towards AI-assisted grieving may end up reshaping the way we memorialise our dead, writes FT columnist Anjana Ahuja. But as one expert tells her, "legacy avatars" won't be for everyone.

Some might lay an extra place setting at the Christmas table, or put a symbolic gift under the tree that will never be unwrapped. Others may commemorate the loss of a loved one by raising a quiet toast or hiking a favourite trail.

But the rise of “grief tech” could soon allow those left behind to interact more vividly with the dead. Companies such as HereAfter AI are building “legacy avatars” of living people that can be called upon after their deaths to console the bereaved. These personalised chatbots are able to answer questions about their lives based on information they provided when they were alive.

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