When Will You Die? Ask the Computer

I've always shied away from those Internet quizzes that make you answer questions to determine how old you are, not chronologically but healthwise.  Some of my half-century friends get in the 30s but I still stay away.

Now how would you like to know when you'll die?  I can't imagine anything more gruesome!

I've always lived my life based on serendipity -- you know, the things you never expect to happen but do, like meeting my husband after talking to a woman on a boat in the Bahamas who happened to live near me and going out on singles' weekends with her, then up to the Catskills to meet a husband for her, only I met mine.

Those kinds of things.

But a new study purports that a computer can tell you how old you will be when you die.

I'd kind of like it to be a surprise.

Maybe because I've fought cancer twice, death doesn't scare me so much (okay, maybe it's that I've been cancer-free for almost 10 years that does it).  But statisticians, computer scientists and medics from the University of East Anglia (UEA) are launching a new project to predict how long you will live.

They will use ‘Big Data’ to predict life expectancy – and particularly how various chronic diseases and their treatments impact longevity, according to newswise.com.

While many people may not want to know how long they have left, the team says the research will bring practical, financial and medical benefits – such as helping people plan for retirement, and knowing how particular drugs such as statins or beta-blockers affect longevity.

“We want to identify and quantify the key factors affecting mortality and longevity, such as lifestyle choices, medical conditions and medical interventions," says lead researcher Prof Elena Kulinskaya from UEA’s School of Computing Sciences. “We are particularly interested in understanding how various chronic diseases and their treatments impact life expectancy."

And the team says that there are many benefits to knowing how long you might live.

“To be able to plan for retirement, and to understand how much you can spend, it is good to have some idea of your life expectancy. Our estimates of life expectancy will only be true on average, not at the individual level," say researchers.

They say it's what they are trying to do for a number of chronic medical conditions, and to also be able to estimate how some popular drugs, such as statins or beta-blockers, may affect longevity.

I guess it's not such a bad idea.  But no, thank you very much.


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