Podcast No. 33 in English
Today is July 21st, 2021.
This is your host, Yuusuke Wada, probably the only funeral business podcaster discussing the death industry business of Japan in English.
I’m also the researcher of the Reform of Death and the journey to the end of life.
No. 32 was about future AI usage allowing digital transformation in the funeral industry.
What’s important is the AI to take calls and if needed, pass the baton to a real human being.
In Japan, there is only one real reason for those who call the funeral parlors.
Someone has died and we funeral directors need to find out where to go and pick up their loved ones and bring them to wherever needed, such as the morgue or to their home, or even to temples.
Therefore, an AI avatar has a much higher dimensional value than just taking the call.
Today, agriculture and ecosystems are very important.
Today’s talk is about a biotech startup company in Israel that stores data on plants.
It’s called the “Memo Tree” that keeps you and your loved one’s memory alive.
What I have been told by the founder is that they are starting a pilot program in the USA.
I am informed about it but I cannot reveal it yet.
This is a technology that implements memory capabilities in plants and replaces them from tombstones.
In the USA, there are too many tombstones taking space in the graveyards.
Actually, not only in the USA, but many countries have an issue on this.
What if these tombstones are replaced with trees? A living tree with your memory.
In Japan, we have “樹木葬”, the tree burial.
This ritual started off planting a tree instead of tombstones.
The problem is that you need a lot of space for each burial and there are rules and regulations regarding burials.
This practice seems to have come from Northern Europe from the woodland burial.
Nowadays, instead of planting a tree, the cemeteries and temples bury an urn around the tree, thus allowing more people to be buried under one tree.
Cost savings and efficiency.
This Memotree is a technology that encrypts and stores information on trees, plants, and even seeds without the use of electricity to preserve DNA and other information.
Let’s put it this way, a floppy disk on a tree, or I should call it a “floppy disk tree”.
The technology is called “Agrobacterium”, which has been known for centuries and used in plant biotechnology in soil. It is caused by insertion of T-DNA (not the tRNA) into plant cells. Another word, it’s a method of triggering disease in plants but at this time, not a disease but a memory effect. This is the method of inserting foreign genes into plants, meaning that one plant hosts another plant for survival.
They say that data can be retrieved any time.
But there are many unknowns.
- Can we update the data?
- What happens if the plant dies or is torn down (natural disaster or human interventions)?
Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook wall and surprisingly, many had good feelings on it.
Since it doesn’t have to be a tree, and if we can choose what kind of plants and flowers, this would open up more of a market as well as a new ritual.
Since this technology just sprung, more study is needed on my part.
I have a hunch that it can be used with AI to retrieve information and pass on the information to the next generation.
More information can be found on https://memotree.info
This wraps up today’s story.
We have to realize that funeral homes need to market using a different method.
People in the death industry have to use not just brochures and pamphlets and YouTube.
Actually, not too many funeral parlors use YouTube for marketing.
Podcasts have been around for almost 20 years since the first iPod appeared on October 23rd, 2001. Yes, that was 20 years ago.
Due to the boom of ClubHouse, talk shows have been given a second thought.
But the problems of ClubHouse and many radio shows are that you need to listen when it’s broadcasting and there’s no archive.
Podcasts are a simple method for people to catch up on what they have missed.
Funeral business is dying due to shrinking services.
Undertakers need to realize why such rituals are needed and not just blindly force customers to make their purchases.
Explanation is necessary for all sales.
They need to use a special landing page for marketing on the internet.
Keeping up with the clients is necessary but who wants to hear from a mortician?
Teach them tricks of keeping funeral costs down and benefits of using different lawyers specializing for their purposes.
As I spoke today, funeral directors need to learn how to use AI but for now, we need to keep on reminding people that funeral directors are there when needed.
AI seems to be the future of the funeral industry.
Thank you very much for listening to my podcast and please subscribe.
A Book about me, can be bought from Amazon Japan called “死神と呼ばれた男” meaning “The Man Called the Reaper”, which will be published in English by September as well.
I’ll be holding an event called the “Book Break” at FCCJ, the foreign press club in Tokyo on September 29th.
This was your host, Yuusuke Wada, probably the only funeral business podcaster in Japan and signing off.