Dead Labour

Elaine Kasket
10 min readJan 16, 2024

Ghostbots are coming for your job

Image created by DALL-E with prompt ‘the digitally persistent dead could carry on working’

Afew years from now, will we look back with nostalgia at an era when we only had to compete with fellow living folks for our jobs?

As an expert in digital afterlives, I can’t help but think that the combination of rapidly developing, unregulated AI with even more unregulated and unprotected ‘digital remains’ is something we should all be thinking about a whole lot more.

The digital dead, as a collective, have the potential to transform culture and the economy in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few years ago.

Rohit Prasad, Head Scientist of Alexa AI, took to the stage at the June 2022 re:MARS, Amazon’s global event showcasing machine learning, automation, robotics, and space.

On the giant video screen behind him appeared a young boy, asking the virtual assistant if Grandma could finish reading him The Wizard of Oz. Okay, Alexa replied cheerily. The voice issuing from the Echo Dot on the boy’s nightstand changed to that of an elderly woman.

Reading along on his copy of the book, the boy smiled, with a tinge of wistfulness that made the situation clear: his grandmother was no longer alive.

Less than a minute of audio sample, Prasad said proudly, was required to accomplish this feat. In his presentation he had had introduced several new…



Elaine Kasket

Speaker, coach, cyberpsychologist. Author of REBOOT: Reclaiming Your Life in a Tech-Obsessed World and All the Ghosts in the Machine.