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Augmented Reality Cemetery Tour - The Dead Speak

An Augmented Reality tour of Atlanta's Oakland cemetery will let the dead speak to visitors. In a recent trial run, users carried laptops in backpacks and used game controllers to navigate the cemetery.


(From Augmented Reality)

At specific grave sites, visitors listened to the voices of the first person buried in Oakland, a child who lived during the Civil War and a local historian who died in 2000. The historian's voice was the real thing; the others (obviously) were dubbed.


(From Augmented Reality)

The audio along with information from other sources was delivered via a wireless network in the cemetery.

This story reminded me strongly of Babel-17, the award-winning 1967 novel by Samuel R. Delany. Captain Rydra Wong needs to put together a crew; for that, she and a Transport Customs Officer need to go to the Discorporate Sector to pick out a crew by speaking with the dead:

The had moved between the pylons when a flickering coalesced. Silver latticed with red fires glimmered through the industrial smog. Three figures formed; women, sequined skeletons glittered towards them, casting hollow eyes.

Kittens clawed the Customs Officer's back, for strut works pylons gleamed behind the apparitional bellies.

"The faces," he whispered. "As soon as you look away, you can't remember what they look like. When you look at them, they look like people, but when you look away - " He caught his breath as another one passed. "You can't remember!" He stared after them. "Dead?" He shook his head. "You know I've been approving the psyche-indexes on Transport workers corporate and discorporate for ten years. And I've never been close enough to speak to a discorporate soul..."

"There's some jobs," Calli's voice was as heavy with alcohol as his shoulders with muscle - "Some jobs on a Transport ship you just can't give to a live human being..."

...Like the Eye, Ear and Nose. A live human scanning all that goes on in those hyperstasis frequencies would - well, die first and go crazy second."

The Eye, Ear and Nose refers to the way in which formerly corporate people perceive the unknowable hyperstasis frequencies, mapping them onto familiar sights, sounds and smells.

Update 01/02/2024: Take a look at the lifebox from Rudy Rucker's 1986 story Soft Death. End update.

I'm not sure what the biggest story is here - "the dead speak", or "they are starting to put WiFi in cemeteries". You be the judge. Read more at Augmented Reality: Another Virtual Brick in the Wall. Also, in Babel-17 Delany has an amazingly accurate prediction of the piercing mania of the last ten years - and pushes the envelope - see decorative implants.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/18/2005)

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