What, how would you feel if this sci-fi sounding development was actually true? Well, it seems that it is coming to a GP near you in the next two or three years.
Lasers Predict Dates
Using a painless, non-invasive laser from a wristwatch-like device, a person’s endothelial cells are analysed. In case you didn’t study human biology, these cells are the ones which line our very smallest blood vessels – capillaries – and are responsive to activity elsewhere in the body.
The theory therefore goes that the oscillations between the cells are predictors for the onset of life-changing diseases such as dementia and cancer. And death. You don’t get much more life-changing than that.
Death Tests On Demand
I picked this story up from the Sunday Times (11 August 2013), and thought I’d do some research of my own about what physics professors Peter McClintock and Aneta Stefanovska from Lancaster University are up to.
Then I found that there are other tests to determine when you will die!
One started from work on mathematics at Harvard some years ago. I took the test in the interests of my writing, of course.
Questions like my diet, height, weight, illnesses I’ve had, what 3 relatives died of, what activities and exercise I do and my general state of health.
It concluded that I would die in a certain month aged a specific number of years and that I have already lived 80% of my time on earth! I have 5831 days left to go!
Now I know that, does it make any difference? I like to think I will make even better use of the time remaining, but will it make me start worrying and counting down the time?
Time only will tell.
We are not told the science, but is it more than a piece of fun? Or is it a scientific step too far? Are we meant to know the end time?
Find a Test You Like Best
One at FindYourFate is headed, ‘It’s Your Final Countdown!’ This one, which to be fair warns in small print that it’s just for fun, says my ‘Armageddon Day’ is three years later than the more scientific one above.
In early 2013 a ‘mortality index’ was made available from the University of California, San Francisco, funded by the US taxpayer. It uses a point system on different factors including an individual’s age, weight, smoking habits, previous cancer diagnoses, whether or not he or she gets winded easily, and more. The more points a person has, the higher the chance of dying within the next decade.
One very vociferous critic of the idea is Dr Manny Alvarez who told Fox News (March 2013) that he did not go into medicine to decide who lives and who dies. ‘I went into health care because I wanted to heal, to comfort, to educate and to study the illnesses that afflict my patients. And I don’t need a crystal ball to know when a patient is going to die.’
He was especially critical of the disclaimer from the project’s developers that ‘the index is not meant to alter a patient’s lifestyle.’ No? Well, how can it help but affect many patients?
Finally (but remember there are pages of them on Google), I liked Nerd Tests, a blatant piece of American guy fun, totally unscientific and I imagine quite random. I don’t have very long left at all if that one were true.
Implications for the Future
If the serious work of the endothelial cells brigade in Britain is the one which is realistic about death predictions, then there are some very frightening outcomes nobody seems to have thought about.
If a database holds all this information on predicted death dates, how does that impact on health, social care, taxation and transport policies?
What about accidents, surely they are the unknowns, so is there any real point in all this stuff beyond some clever bods doing it because they can and trying to impress others with their technology?
What about murders? The system is not yet predicting them. Is that pure sci-fi like Minority Report (2002)? Or is just a matter of time?
What does it say about human life?
Soon they’ll know how many children you will have (or be allowed to have), when and where, how you bring them up will be both regulated and predicted, what they learn will be fully prescribed, what work/taxes will be apportioned to you, what you will buy and what ads you will like (all of them), crime will be a thing of the past and they will decide when you will draw the final curtain, as they predicted.
Get me out of here, I am a human!
Do you agree or am I being paranoid?
Vaguely related topics, to while away your hours to your Doomsday:
Dreaming of Escape from the Tyranny of Unwanted Ads, 28 August 2013
No Place for the Human Touch in Complex Algorithms, 20 August 2013
There Is No Off-Switch in Today’s 24/7 Connected World, 6 August 2013
Does the Past Matter When We’re All Going Forwards? 15 July 2013