An AI Calculator Can Determine When You Will Die, and Its Unnervingly Accurate


Dec. 21 2023, Published 9:38 a.m. ET

A chip that says AI inside a CPU.
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The Gist:

  • A new study suggests that there's an AI-powered death calculator out there that can predict a person's death with 78 percent accuracy.
  • The calculator uses technology that's related to ChatGPT.
  • The AI death calculator can be used to predict many different things about a person by absorbing key details about their life, including their health history, their profession, their income, and where they live.
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The AI revolution has led to a lot of predictions about how the technology may change our lives and the way we see the world. One terrifying new possibility was just announced in December 2023, when researchers suggested that an AI-based death calculator can be almost terrifyingly accurate about when a person is going to die.

Now that the calculator has been announced, many are wondering how the technology works, and why researchers are so confident that it can produce realistic results.

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Source: Getty Images

What is the AI death calculator?

According to Sune Lehmann, one of the authors behind the study who spoke to the New York Post, the death calculator isn't all that different from what runs ChatGPT.

“We use the technology behind ChatGPT (something called transformer models) to analyze human lives by representing each person as the sequence of events that happens in their life,” Sune explained. “Using a sequence of life-events to predict human lives."

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The calculator uses select details about a person's life to predict when they will die, and the study suggests that the calculator has a 78 percent accuracy rate, which is far from perfect but is also nothing to sneeze at.

“We use the fact that in a certain sense, human lives share a similarity with language,” Sune explained. “Just like words follow each other in sentences, events follow each other in human lives.”

The calculator runs on the algorithm called life2vec.

Sune also explained that the calculator's algorithm is called "life2vec," and it runs based on select information about a person's life. That information includes where you live, your income, your health history, and your profession. In essence, the algorithm attempts to predict a person's future based on key information about their past.

“This model can predict almost anything,” Sune explained, adding that the model can even be used to predict a person's international moves.

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“We predicted death because it’s something people have worked on for many years (for example, insurance companies),” Sune added, “so we had a good sense of what was possible.”

The study examined 6 million Danish people of various ages and genders between 2008 and 2020, and asked the algorithm to predict which of those people would live longer than 2020. Using that information, life2vec predicted who would die before 2020 three-quarters of the time.

“The scale of our dataset allows us to construct sequence-level representations of individual human life trajectories, which detail how each person moves through time,” the report explains. “We can observe how individual lives evolve in a space of diverse event types (information about a heart attack is mixed with salary increases or information about moving from an urban to a rural area).”

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