02 side effects & side shows
Death does not mean the end; even after we are gone, we leave an immense physical and digital trail. Our identity still exists after us. As efficiency becomes the key way to measure our value in society, how can we continue to be efficient and of value even after death?
As artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies mature, transforming a loved one into a bot becomes common. We used to learn about our family through oral history and whatever artifacts are left behind, but now bots are now able to answer all of our questions. However, bots are not limited to companionship. They can easily be trained to become a malevolent programs to haunt and torment those still alive. Who owns the data someone created while they were alive? Is it passed down in a will or does a corporation own it? Is there monetary value attached to our data?
Land becomes an increasingly precious resource, and cemeteries become less commonplace. Online archives become a place for people to memorialize and honor the deceased. Augmented reality allows for digital headstones to be placed anywhere.
Individuals can sell their organs to the highest bidder to help lighten the financial burden they might leave behind. Taking placentophagy to the next level, endocannibalism begins to become popular, for health benefits (stem cells) and for spiritual reasons (a modified eucharist). Catholics condemn these practices. Human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting become more and more common. Cannibalism raises questions of autonomy after death.
Our lifespans increase with improved health care and biotechnology. People are part of the active workforce for longer. Overpopulation and resource depletion are still problems. The popularity of activity trackers and biometric data present an immense wealth of data for researchers to sift through and improve their understanding of diseases and aging. Death looses some significance; its permanence and inevitability becomes less daunting.