Remords posthume

A huge advancement in science has been made this week with the invention of a new method to send messages from beyond the grave! Paul Wilson digs out the dirt on the new development.

<b>’Death is one of the few things that can be done as easily lying down. The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.’ – Woody Allen.</b>

A huge advancement in science has been made this week with the invention of a new method to send messages from beyond the grave!

But if you were expecting this development to be anything like the medical techniques disclosed in the recent Hollywood horror film ‘Godsend’, you’d be sadly disappointed. In that movie, you’ll recall, a young couple’s son is killed by a car and then ‘brought back from the grave’ by a scientist who clones a new body from the dead son’s cells. Cool stuff indeed.

But this idea’s no where near as clever, I’m afraid. Instead, it should be nominated for a bad taste award for the saddest use of technology that I’ve seen for quite some time.

Naturally enough, it’s come from California, where a one Robert Barrow, of Burlingame, has patented the idea of attaching touch sensitive video screens onto folk’s tombstones.

The video screens would, if they were ever to be actually used, be hooked up to a hard drive that would contain a video tribute to the dead dude under the sod. The tombstone would draw power from the lighting system of the cemetery, and to avoid disturbing other visitors, individuals could listen to the macabre messages on wireless headphones.

This is apparently the ‘next step’ for gravestone technology, but why stop at just videos? After all, if we really want to outdo the next door neighbours, why not go the whole nine yards and have a Wi-Fi connection to the Internet so anyone in the whole world can dial in to your death pitch.

Better yet, perhaps the tombstone could even contain wireless gaming facilities and handsets for up to four players at once. That way, with a little extra effort and the AI of the deceased trapped in a database inside the tombstone (instead of just the video) it would even be possible to have a game of Resident Evil 4 with your dead mates. (Steady on here, son – Ed.)

But in the end, isn’t all of this just a bit pointless and egotistical? Rather than forking out for a tombstone that will undoubtedly be obsolete in five years time anyway, folks would be much better off donating their money while they are alive to research organisations involved in genetic research.

That way, instead of just watching the dead in a video, in the future we might actually be able to see them with the flesh back on their bones.

Editor’s note: Paul Wilson, the son of dearly beloved husband, father and e4engineering Editor Dave Wilson, penned this piece while on work experience this week at Centaur Holdings HQ in London.