1 in 10 Brits want to become chatbots after they die

Startling survey from Bristol-based Death.io highlights the changing attitudes towards death
11th December 2018

A YouGov survey has revealed startling attitudes towards death in the UK, as The Changing Attitudes to Death 2018 report is published today.

Asking wide-ranging questions from live-streaming funerals to becoming a chatbot after death, the report disrupts not only the ‘death community’ of funeral directors but also the general public to consider what decisions they would make for their burial, funeral, and digital legacy.

The report states that 1 in 10 under-65s in the UK want to be turned into a chatbot after they die so that their loved ones can still ‘talk to them’, and despite spending a significant portion of our lives online, 17% of us haven’t considered what we want to happen to our emails after we die.

Paul Wiseall, Managing Director of Death.io, who commissioned the survey, said, “Most reports into death and dying focus on very traditional, almost Victorian questions: How much should a coffin cost? Do you have a will? We wanted to ask the real questions facing a 21st-century person when thinking about their mortality: would you like to have your funeral live-streamed, what do you plan to do with your Twitter account after you die, and would you like to ‘live’ online as a chatbot after death?

“The results from this report are astonishing and demonstrate just how far our conversations around death and dying have to go to catch up with current attitudes. By highlighting the wider issues that real people face when dealing with death we hope to help promote a more positive discussion about modern mortality.”

The Changing Attitudes to Death 2018 report revealed that by the time we leave full-time education, 55% of us will have been bereaved, with 27% of us losing someone special between the ages of 11 to 17 – a critical time in our education.

Age had a dramatic effect on attitudes towards burial, with statistics showing that 20% of 18-24 year olds would choose to donate their body to science: the most popular choice for what they would want to happen to their body after death, and the age group most likely to choose this option. In fact, donation to science (10%) is almost as popular as traditional burial (11%).

Yet this liberal attitude is not restricted to the young in all areas. When asked whether assisted suicide should be legal in the UK, only 60% of 18-24 year olds believed that it should be, whereas that percentage rose up to 73% for 55-64s.

Death.io was founded when Paul Wiseall lost a close friend, and found that there was little joined up or compassionate thinking about the process of dying in our modern society. It sparked the creation of Farewell Wishes, a quick 10 question, multiple-choice survey that helps someone make simple decisions about the end of their life, from what they want people to wear at their funeral to what songs they want played.

By working with others in the ‘death community’, from lawyers supporting people through probate to funeral directors helping families plan commemoration services, to charities that advocate assisted suicide to those working with the elderly and vulnerable, Death.io is changing the narrative around death, and empowering everyone to experience bereavement differently.

The Changing Attitudes to Death 2018 report is available to download on the Death.io website.