Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
College of Fine Arts: Arts Technology
Thanatechnology, or the study of death technology, is based within the human need to “figure out” death. Through the ages, humans have used technology to further our understanding of what it means to die and what it means to mourn as a way of figuring out what it means to live. Digital data is a huge part of recent digital technology and includes social media data which is a part of many peoples’ daily lives. This leads to many questions including what happens to social media pages when someone dies. These “digital graveyards” leave a lasting impact on many social media sites, whether it be through the “clutter” they add to the site, confusion to its users, or trauma to the families. In many realms, the idea of a “digital death” has not been explored, nor have the implications of digital technology been studied widely in the modern death. Technology is expanding all sectors of the death industry, from the burial process to the remembrance aspect. Social media sites, personal cloud drives, and communal video games the deceased may have played are all aspects of death that should be designed for. Looking at what the technological implications of the modern death is vital to the future of designing digital technologies. This thesis explores current approaches companies are taking when it comes to a user’s death and explores potential other options. This is important to ensure that the future of a persons’ technological presence is preserved in a way they choose and want.
KEYWORDS: thanatechnology; grieving; mourning; digital death; ritual; death technology; digital graveyards; digital footprint; etc.
Bruner, Samantha Grace, "Thanatechnology: Designing for Death" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1658.