Conference Proceedings

Cybernetic Funeral Systems

M Arnold, H Gould, T Kohn, B Nansen, F Allison

2021 IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century: Being Human in a Global Village, 21CW 2021 | IEEE | Published : 2021


Using Postphenomenology (one of many methods informed by Wiener's cybernetics) as an analytical approach, this paper examines three examples of robot participation in, and mediation of, funerals. The analysis of robot mediation of funerals challenges the idea that death rituals are exclusively human performances and experiences, and instead repositions them as cybernetic systems of entanglement and impact. The paper begins with an introduction to the relevance of postphenomenological theory, then moves to the case of CARL, a robot that enables remote participation in funeral ceremonies. We argue that the [Human-Robot-Funeral] relation and its variants are both engaging and alienating, throug..

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