How Technology Is Streamlining Death

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How Technology Is Streamlining Death

By MIT Technology Review
One Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

Technology has changed the way we grieve, but it’s also starting to make a difference to the way we deal with death’s logistics, too.

The New York Times reports that startups—often run by millennials, it drily notes—are increasingly creating digital tools that help people plan for their demise.

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death

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Examples:

  • Willing allows people to plan how their estate should be divided up when they breathe their last;
  • Parting is a price comparison service for funeral homes; and
  • Cake (they don’t all end with “ing”) allows people to record preferences for how their online identities are dealt with when they can no longer log in.

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Human Skull

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Assessment

Though for those determined not to admit defeat, cryogenics is still an option:

KrioRus, the only company outside of the U.S. prepared to put your head on ice after you die, will do so for a modest $12,000. It still doesn’t know what to do further down the line, though.

More:

Conclusion

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OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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2 Responses

  1. 4 in 10 Seniors Have Not Documented End-of-Life Care Wishes

    Kaiser Family Foundation recently released an infographic on Medicare and end-of-life care. Here are some key findings from the report:

    • Of the 2.6 million deaths in 2014, 2.1 million were Medicare beneficiaries.
    • The share of Medicare spending for end-of-life care was 13.5% in 2014.
    • Medicare spent $34,529 per beneficiary for people who died in 2014.
    • Medicare spending on hospice rose from $2.3 bil. in 2000 to $10.4 bil. in 2014.
    • 70% of people over age 65 have not discussed end-of-life care with a physician.
    • 4 in 10 people over age 65 have not documented their end-of-life care wishes.

    Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, November 1, 2016

    Like

  2. Inside Google’s Plan to Lengthen Life

    The quest to slow aging is tantalizing, complex—and divisive. With $1.5 billion in the bank, Google’s spinout Calico is taking its own distinctive approach to the problem.

    MIT Technology Review’s Antonio Regalado finds that the secretive company is, in effect, an elite university research group housed within a corporate bunker, doing mostly basic science. The company is studying yeast, worms, and even naked mole rats to find out how to help you live longer. “We believe you have to take a very long view,” says Calico’s Hal Barron, “and not rush into the clinic.”

    Not everyone agrees. Aubrey de Grey, a proponent of interventions to slow aging, says Calico is built on “the assumption that we still do not understand aging well enough … to develop therapies.”

    Some researchers are trying to develop interventions as quickly as possible, though—such as those from the Salk Institute, who yesterday announced that a new kind of gene therapy could rejuvenate mice. It remains to be seen which approach is best.

    But, as Regalado points out, Calcio’s large bank balance will come in useful for finding out.

    MIT Technology Review

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