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Danish researchers develop life prediction model

Copenhagen. A group of researchers from a Danish university developed a model called “death calculator”, an algorithm to predict the stages of life until its end and which seeks to show the risks of commercial use of this data.

“It is a very general framework that makes it easy to predict human life. You can predict anything as long as you have data,” Sune Lehmann, professor at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), and one of the authors of the study, told AFP. study published in the journal Nature Computational Science.

According to him, the possibilities are endless.

“It could predict health outcomes. It could predict fertility or obesity, or maybe who will or won’t get cancer. But it could also predict whether you’re going to make a lot of money,” he added.

Specifically, life2vec uses a model similar to ChatGPT but instead of processing textual data, it analyzes statistics such as birth, studies, social benefits or work hours.

“From a certain point of view, life is just a succession of events: people are born, go to the pediatrician, go to school, move house, get married,” the study states.

“We exploit this similarity here to adapt the innovations of automatic natural language processing to the examination of the evolution and predictability of human lives based on detailed sequences of events,” he says.

Millions of people analyzed

It is based on anonymous data from millions of Danes, collected by the National Statistics Institute of this Nordic country.

Analysis of the sequences makes it easier to predict what will follow until the end. Regarding death, the algorithm is right in 78 percent of cases, and about migrations, in 73 percent.

“With a sample of people between 35 and 65 years old, we seek to predict based on a period of eight years, from 2008 to 2016, whether the person will die in the next four years, until 2020. The model does that very well. , better than any other algorithm,” says Lehmann, who does not use his formula in personal cases.

This age segment, in which deaths are usually few, makes it easier, according to the researchers, to verify the reliability of the program.

But the instrument is not ready to be used by the general public. “For now it is a research project that explores the field of possibilities (…), and we don’t know if it treats everyone the same!” He explains.

The long-term effect, social connections and the possibility of predicting the course of lives still need to be studied.


For the university student, the project presents a scientific counterweight to the algorithms developed by giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.

“They can also build models of the same type, but they do not make them public or talk about them,” he says. “We can assume that they perfect them just to make us buy more products,” she added.

For him, it is “important to have a public and open counterweight to begin to understand what can be done with data of that type.”

And much more because algorithms of this type are surely already used in the field of insurance, indicates ethics expert Pernille Tranberg.

“They have surely put us in groups (…) and that can be used against us because they can force us to pay higher insurance, or to be refused a loan at the bank or access to public medical care because one will die anyway,” he adds.

“There are no cases of personal data leaks” with the National Institute of Statistics, and “the data is not individualized,” he emphasizes.

However, with the development of artificial intelligence, “everything accelerates.”

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– 2024-04-07 14:38:27

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