Transcending Old Boundaries: Digital Afterlife in the Age of COVID-19

by   Mashiat Mostafa, et al.

The primary objective of our exploratory research is to contribute to the ongoing conversation on Digital Afterlife from the lenses of Global South during the COVID-19 period. Digital Afterlife is fast becoming a challenge for our increasingly connected society. Moreover, the situation got worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. The on-going research is to address the disparity in the Global South, specifically in countries like Indonesia, India and The Philippines compared to the Global North for Digital Afterlife services such as policies and digital mourning services. By addressing the research question, 'What services and policy frameworks are available for Digital Afterlife in the Global South during COVID-19?', we aim to find the multitude of ways people in the Global South are managing their digital footprints. Our preliminary findings show that some considerable research and death related digital services and innovation have taken place during the pandemic. However, overwhelming majority of these works are western-centric and mainly dealing with post-mortem personal asset management. Cultural nuances, socio-economic perspectives, religion, political climate, regional infrastructures are mostly sidelined. We found significant disparity in Digital Afterlife product and service designs, which got worse during the global pandemic. Our goal is to collect further in-depth data within the three big ICT powerhouses of global south (Indonesia, India and The Philippines), identify the challenges as well as the innovations around Digital Afterlife.We envision proposing a set of recommendations, based on our findings, for developing a more inclusive and equitable digital space in this pandemic-stricken world.


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