Do you want to be immortal, but don’t have enough cash to be cryogenically frozen? A Palo Alto-based startup, Postmortem Limited, will launch a virtual cemetery today at the DEMO conference in San Francisco.
“The world population has grown from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 7 billion in 2011, and 54 million people will die this year in the world,” a press release advises us. “The land available for cemeteries becomes scarcer with each generation, while in some cultures, 30 percent of people already choose cremation.”
Postmortem CEO Jacques Mechelany explains in a video that the internet adds a new dimension to death. Living people can construct memorials for themselves at I-Memorial, which will be preserved after death at sister site I-Tomb. Users designate someone to verify their death with i-Memorial, so the site knows when to seal it off.
The I-Tomb is a multimedia memorial made of photos, videos, texts, music and documents that encapsulate the life of a deceased person, telling the next generations who they were, what they believed in and what the world they lived in was like.
I-Tombs can be visited by friends, family, or even the public at large, from anywhere, at anytime, to remember, share, or tell the coming generations the life stories of their ancestors. Visitors to “The World Virtual Cemetery” can also leave audiovisual tributes, light candles, place flowers and burn incense in the I-Tombs they are visiting.
I-Tombs are maintained and moderated by the descendants of the deceased to preserve the memory of ancestors and loved ones who have passed away.
The target demographic is professional, well educated, computer literate, white collar adults in the “top quintile in terms of income and wealth.” Data is stored securely in Switzerland. Each I-Tomb account is $50 a year and each I-Memorial account is $120 a year. Yeeergh. No doubt there is some demand for virtual shrines–sounds like a use case for Tumblr, actually–but this thing, assuming it’s not some sort of practical joke, gives us the skeevies. It should be a funny demo, at least?