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TOPIC: family


Re;Memory — A New AI Program Makes Talking To The Dead Come Alive

There are many frontiers being crossed by AI lately, sparking debate and anxiety. But now, we're entering strange, new territory: an algorithm that lets bereaved family members communicate with deceased loved ones in the most realistic of ways. Yet it comes with very real and complicated risks.


TURIN — Generative artificial intelligence is said to be a threat to the jobs in a variety of creative professional fields. Are professional psychics next? Yes, communing with the dead, real or imagined, is an experience that the digital world may now be ready to outflank the human competition.

The technical term for these algorithms is "deadbots," which offer a sort of ephemeral evocation of the spirit of a deceased person. You don't have to look far to find them — even the usual suspect, ChatGPT, can light the path to the dead and establish a mutual, tangible dialogue between you and the dearly departed.

Yet the most realistic of these chatbot models is the consolatory Re;Memory. This ectoplasmic recreation, designed by South Korean company DeepBrain, comes almost as a natural evolution to the spiritual seances to which we're accustomed.

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Freeze-Framing Happiness: A Father's Antidote To Parenting Nostalgia

It’s difficult to take a breath in the middle of all of the parenting chaos — but if we aren't able to tell when happy moments are unfolding, we risk missing them altogether.


I’ve spent a few days wanting to write something positive. Something like vignettes of happiness. It’s more challenging than, say, being critical or complaining. I am doing it as a sort of feat of the impossible: to perpetuate this internal sensation that we spend our lives looking for a rerun, though we know these are bubbles which burst, and, when and if they come around again, they come back in different ways, in a way that may be surprising or unexpected.

Why not? After all, I'm regularly relating a tender, loving scene about being a father on at least a daily basis to someone (usually my partner — and the kid’s mum — Irene).

I want to remember the moving things my eldest son Lorenzo, 4, says — and those little milestones achieved by my youngest León, 9 months — and writing seems to be the only way to be sure I won’t forget in the days and weeks to come.

Since I became a father — and since I don’t let some of you forget it — my entire life has practically become one of logging the children's milestones: first tooth, second tooth, first liquid poo, first solid poo, first smile, the daily smile, the first step… you get it.

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Why Japan Is Struggling So Much With Falling Birth Rates

The world’s third largest economy will see its population shrink by 40 million people by 2060. Among the root causes: millions of men in precarious employment, excluded from the marriage market, and work pressures that weigh heavily on families.

TOKYO — It’s the last chance. It’s almost time for the last train back to the suburbs. Disinhibited by drinks at an “izakaya” in Tokyo’s Shimbashi district offering “nomihodai” (all-you-can-drink), young employees, still wearing dark suits but with their ties undone, try the old techniques of “nampa," street flirting. One runs after a young girl with a packet of aperitif crackers in hand, assuring her that she has just dropped it. She apologizes, explaining that it’s not hers. “Let’s go and eat together over a drink then," attempts the bold, almost desperate young man.

It’s so complicated to find a partner in Japan, to get married and, maybe, one day, to have a child. A true obstacle course. “Twenty six per cent of Japanese men aged 50 have never been married. The rate is 16.4% for women. And it’s rising,” says Seiko Noda, former Minister for Children’s Policies, at a seminar with the foreign press in Tokyo. “And since we don’t traditionally have children outside of marriage, the decline in the number of marriages has led to a fall in the number of births since 1973,” she explains.

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Honor Killings In Iran: Parents Suffocate "Child Bride" Daughter

A 15-year-old girl is murdered by her parents in Iran, three years after her arranged marriage, in yet another possible "honor" killing the Islamic Republic is loath to punish.

The Persian-language daily Etemaad has reported this week another murder of a young woman in Iran, which stands out for its shocking details in the context of the Iranian plague of so-called "honor killings."

A 15-year-old girl was killed by her parents, just outside the northwestern town of Khoy near the borders of Turkey and Azerbaijan. The parents have reportedly admitted to suffocating their daughter, named as Raheleh, with a pillow before tying a scarf around her neck, throwing her body in a garden shed and calling neighbors to report her death as a suicide, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Neighbors told the daily that Raheleh's older sister had previously tried to kill herself.

The gruesome case was another case of both femicide and filicide in Iran, and of underage marriage, a phenomenon that appears to be both prevalent and increasingly approved by Iran's government authorities.

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Guadalupe Rivero

Rise Of "Slave Grandparent" Syndrome — When Child Care Is Unloaded On Grandma

Grandparents are increasingly forced into caregiving duties that leave them exhausted and can even affect their health. This is especially true for women.

BUENOS AIRES — Terms such as "grandparent slaves" sound like another world, but they are closer to home than we care to imagine. Do we ever stop to think who is caring for the carers?

Taking care of others — a task that generally falls to women — has effects that are under-appreciated if not made invisible. The duty is also often imposed without prior consent and distributed unfairly.

Obligations, economic issues, internal and external pressures and other factors can all create a work overload that degrades quality of life and can even harm one's health.

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Ignacio Pereyra

Do We Need Our Parents When We Grow Up? Doubts Of A Young Father

As his son grows older, Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra wonders when a father is no longer necessary.

It’s 2am, on a Wednesday. I am trying to write about anything but Lorenzo (my eldest son), who at four years old is one of the exclusive protagonists of this newsletter.

You see, I have a whole folder full of drafts — all written and ready to go, but not yet published. There’s 30 of them, alternatively titled: “Women who take on tasks because they think they can do them better than men”; “As a father, you’ll always be doing something wrong”; “Friendship between men”; “Impressing everyone”; “Wanderlust, or the crisis of monogamy”, “We do it like this because daddy say so”.

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Awino Okech

The Western Organizations Funding Africa's LGBTQ+ Backlash

Uganda has signed a harsh anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law. It's part of a wider push back against "Western" values that's partly being funded by a global coalition.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni assented to the anti-homosexuality bill on May 26, 2023. The new law legislates, among other things, a 10-year jail term for “attempted homosexuality,” a 20-year jail term for “promotion of homosexuality,” a life sentence for “the offense of homosexuality” and a death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Previously there has been been historical surveillance and targeting of queer people in Uganda, but no penalties nearly as harsh as this.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

This is reflective of a spate of new laws across Africa. Their proponents argue that they protect the heterosexual African family and “African values” in a rejection of “Western norms”.

Similar laws have been proposed in Ghana and Kenya. In July 2021, members of Ghana’s parliament proposed the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill. In April 2023, a Kenyan member of parliament introduced a Family Protection Bill. Among other things, it prohibits sexual health services and sexual health rights education.

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Mariateresa Fichele

Of Earthquakes And Men

"Oh, to sleep as soundly as a man," marvels our Naples-based psychiatrist.

I can feel the earthquake. Or at least, I think I can, because the ceiling lamp isn’t moving. I run upstairs in a frenzy to check on my son. He is sound asleep.

My husband is asleep, too. He hasn’t felt the earthquake, but he has heard me move about. Of course he has.

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Ignacio Pereyra

Talking To My Four-Year-Old About Death

As he is faced by questions about death from his 4-year-old son during a family visit to Argentina, Recalculating author Ignacio Pereyra replies honestly. "I can only tell him the truth, at least the little truth that I know..."

BUENOS AIRES — An exchange with my four year old.

— Nacho…

— Yes?

— Am I going to die in Argentina or in Greece ?

— I don’t know… why?

— I want to die in Argentina. Can I?

— Well, I don’t know, it could happen in any country. I just hope it won’t happen for a very long time!

— I want to die in Argentina.

— Why?

— Because I like Argentina.

The talk I had with Lorenzo last week was in gentle tones. It’s something I am not used to with my oldest son, who at four, is usually loud, effusive and extremely expressive when we talk.

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Tapati Guha Thakurta

Time To "Move On" From COVID? That's Not An Option For Me

Anger depletes and debilitates; grief, on the other hand, creates a new strength and resolve. What is centrally at stake for me, three years after I lost my husband, is a stubborn refusal to forget the disease that took him away.


NEW DELHI — Three years ago, it was during the last days in April that the season’s first Kalbaishakhi – gusts of thunder, storm and rain – broke into the sultry summer evening in Kolkata, just as it did this year. I remember the rains came late on that Sunday evening at the end of April 2020, stopping what had become our routine walk during that hour.

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Loola Pérez

Parenthood, Redefined: 11 Hard Questions About Surrogacy

Contributing biologically to a child's creation no longer directly implies parenthood. Surrogacy has shaken up traditional ideas and beliefs about sexuality, reproduction and filiation. The author poses key questions that must be answered to ensure that surrogacy is driven by both science and ethics.


MURCIA — We live in a rapidly changing society, particularly when it comes to interpersonal and familial relationships. Assisted reproductive technology (hereafter ART) has shaken traditional ideas about sexuality, reproduction and filiation.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

The act of child creation now goes beyond the sexual encounter between a man and a woman. Not only is reproduction without sex possible, it is also possible that there is no filial relationship between the participants who conceive a baby.

In some cases, those who gestate do not use their own eggs, such as with partner-assisted reproduction (ROPA) for couples who both possess female reproductive organs, often lesbians. In another example, sperm donors renounce their parental rights over the babies conceived.

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Ignacio Pereyra

Fragmented Lives: Prodigal Sons Return To Buenos Aires

Visiting family in Argentina for the first time since the pandemic, Greece-based Argentine journalist Ignacio Pereyra sends some thoughts, from across the ocean, on raising children far from a family and community support network.

BUENOS AIRES — I am in Buenos Aires with my oldest son, Lorenzo, who recently turned four. Many people here are surprised that he almost always calls me by my name, “Nacho,” instead of “papá” — which he also calls me, but far less frequently.

He also mostly calls his mother “Irene,” instead of “mamá.” Is this anyone else’s experience, for their children to call them by their names? Any theories about why? I'm all ears.

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