Artificial intelligence can predict about 80% of deaths accurately but are we prepared to know?
A new study shows that machine learning can accurately predict death about 80% of the time
Imagine an artificial intelligence that can predict when you will die by looking at the key details of your life. This ‘doom calculator’ is now a reality for new AI research. But is this technology a Pandora’s box that we should avoid opening?
Researchers from Denmark and the US have developed an AI system called life2vec that can predict whether someone will die within four years with more than 75% accuracy. AI crunched data on age, health, employment, income and other factors for more than 6 million Danes. According to the research paper, he was given sentences about life events, such as “In September 2012, Francisco received 20,000 Danish kroner as a guard at the castle of Elsinore.”
“We use the technology behind ChatGPT (called the transformer model) to analyze human life by representing it as a sequence of life events for each individual,” said Sune Lehmann, lead author of the December 2023 study “Predicting Human Life Using Life-Events for order,” said the New York Post.
The researchers examined a mixed population of six million Danish people varying in gender and age between 2008 and 2020. They then used an AI system to determine which subjects would live at least four years after January 1, 2016.
“The scale of our dataset allows us to create sequence-level representations of individual human life trajectories, detailing how each individual spends time,” the report reads. “We can observe how personal lives evolve across different event spaces (heart attack data mixed with data on salary increases or moving from urban to rural areas).”
Over time, AI has become adept at creating complete “life trajectories” for individuals with an accuracy rate of 78%. The researchers did not tell the participants their estimated expiration date, though they believed that would be “very irresponsible.”
Certain characteristics such as mental illness, being male and having a skilled job were associated with earlier death. Leadership roles and high salaries are associated with longevity. Apart from mortality, AI can also predict personality and major life decisions.
Lehmann also suggests that life2vec could help determine factors that might help us live longer, though he admits they “didn’t go deep enough.”