Beyond Blood – Emotional attachment and inheritance by algorithm

Created by Sures Kumar at the RCA Design Interactions, ‘Beyond Blood’ is a project that imagines a legal system where algorithms take over the inheritance process where the deceased has not left a will and the state has to distribute the estates. Inspired by the near-future scenario of "internet of things" (as described in Shaping Things by Bruce Sterling) where every object is trackable and logged by a computer system, the project suggests that by tracking people and objects over a number of years, computers will be able to infer the significance of an object to a particular individual.

Over the last few months Sures has been working to design a speculative software system that could designate assets based on different parameters, which can be altered by the policy makers, whether this be individuals, government or policy makers. To explore this scenario, Sures uses the film “Aviator”, which depicts the life of Howard Hughes, to create a fictional computational model for generating a will for splitting Hughes’ $2.5 billion estate (originally split among 22 cousins whom he had never visited). In this alternative history of the life of Howard Hughes, every asset and object is a “spime” that senses human interactions and is tracked and logged by computer systems.

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