Digital Death and Immortality

Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP24), 2024-26

A/Prof. Patrick Stokes (Deakin University, Australia) and Dr Adam Buben (University of Leiden, Netherlands)

Insect trails in redgum bark, Werona, 2023

This project will create a philosophically informed ethical approach for managing the ‘digital remains’ of internet users who have died. Emerging artificial intelligence technologies make it possible to reuse and interact with these digital remains. This offers new ways to commemorate the dead and manage grief. Yet these technologies also threaten to exploit the dead and to change our relationship to them in troubling ways. Expected outcomes of the project include guidance for the ethical use of these technologies and policy recommendations for regulating the reuse of digital remains. This will provide significant benefits by helping Australia to avoid the ethical dangers inherent in emerging technologies of ‘digital reanimation.’