SXSW Interactive 2014

xHumed: Bring Back The Dead, with Mary Shelley

Making their first appearance at SXSWi, internationally renowned and long dead authors, H.G. Wells and Mary Shelley, lead us through the incredible journey of being xHumed.
Brought back to life for unique events in London and Birmingham, England, the xHumed are a collective of Speakers-in-a-Box who imparted Dead Good Thinking at NESTA’s FutureFest and the Library of Birmingham.

The process of bringing back the dead was sometimes painful, but made possible through partnership with cultural and media archive organisations including the Library of Birmingham, Oxford University, BBC and others.

If we can archive and store our personal data, media, DNA and brain patterns, the question of whether we can bring back the dead is almost redundant. The right question is should we?
Project producers Samara and Jason Jones-Hall will join Wells, Shelley and other xHumed guests to reveal both the contemporary relevance of these Dead Good Thinkers and the ripple effect of resurrection.

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  1. If a person were to be xHumed based solely on the data and content in their social media profile, would the result be an accurate xHumation or merely a sanitized, glamourized version of themselves?
  2. Can a person be reduced to – and xHumed from – the data and media they produce during their lifetime?
  3. Google’s Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil, wants to bring back his dad. Who sets the criteria for who gets xHumed and why?
  4. Tupac has already wowed Coachella from beyond the grave, yet there is arguably greater benefit to society in bringing back former world leaders. What would the implications be in rallying a vote when we bring back Dead Good Thinkers like JFK, Martin Luther King or Indira Gandhi?
  5. In a world faced with insurmountable pressures of over-population, a lack of natural resources and large-scale global unemployment, is it better to continue to bring unknown quantities into the world in the form of new life or are we better off developing strategies for xHuming known quantities with proven value to society?



Samara Jones-Hall, Director, Five10Twelve Limited

Meta Information:

  • Tags: culture
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Other
  • Track: WTF and Beyond
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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