Imagine having the option to know when you might die.
Researchers in Denmark have made strides in this arena with an AI algorithm dubbed “the doom calculator” which can predict if people will die within four years with over 75% accuracy.
The AI, named “life2vec,” analyzed data, such as age, health, education, income, and life events from six million Danish individuals to determine when they might die.
Initially trained on data from 2008 to 2016, it evolved to create individual life trajectories.
It correctly predicted who had died by 2020 about 78% of the time.
Despite its potential, the tool’s privacy and applicability outside Denmark remain concerning.
Life2vec’s creators emphasize its role in societal trend tracking rather than individual prediction and therefore, the program isn’t available for public use yet, prioritizing privacy protection.
Professor Art Caplan, the head of NYU’s Bioethics Division, said the doom machine “has [an] upside and could prevent deaths, but it’s got a real existential threat of taking all the unknowns out of life, which is not necessarily a good thing.”
The evolution of AI in predicting life outcomes opens a Pandora’s box of ethical dilemmas and societal implications, urging thoughtful contemplation on the impact of such advancements.
Rune Lehmann, the lead researcher on the study offered his thoughts, saying, “Similar technologies for predicting life events and human behavior are already used today inside tech companies that, for example, track our behavior on social networks, profile us extremely accurately, and use these profiles to predict our behavior and influence us. This discussion needs to be part of the democratic conversation so that we consider where technology is taking us and whether this is a development we want.”