By now many of you have seen those apps and sites that predict the way you'll die, some of them even going as far as telling you the day and time. Well what if that were real....to an extent?


Imagine every country had a public government office specifically for reading details about your future death. Appointments would need to be made several months in advance and once there the staff will sit you in a quiet room with a machine interface that reads out the details of your death. This prediction would be highly accurate but in the case of murders or accidents it doesn't imply who the offending party was, in fact all the system provides is a following in the template shown below:

  • Name: Tom Smith
  • Age: 47
  • Date of Death: 11/08/2020
  • Time of Death: 14:02
  • Description of Death: Exsanguination (Sufficient blood loss to cause death)

The system would work by taking a blood sample from the user (possible during the booking period) and using some analytical quantum computation to reach an end state to the user's life. The technique or software used is highly classified and is unlikely to be leaked to the black market / public space.

More Info

  1. You can only book an appointment once every 6 or so months.
  2. Government agencies can formally request data for help in crimes investigations and intelligence gathering.
  3. Information learnt during these sessions will be printed on a certified documented.
  4. Trying to desperately change or follow the prediction has been documented to increase chances of said event happening.
  5. Only a small percentage of people have seen a active change on their prediction (not all people would bother to check again).

The Question

As a consequence to the above one can imagine life insurance companies trying to exploit this to make the most out of their customers whilst the military might use it to select soldiers for certain operations and such. There'd also be other implications as a whole but what's the biggest change to our modern or rather daily lives?

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    $\begingroup$ So if I am say smoker, quitting smoking is useless because I still fall into 99% prediction accuracy? In general: Does changing lifestyle amend the prediction? $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Jun 2 '16 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ This remind me of the film "Minority Report", police could predict future crimes and try to prevent them before they happened $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns Jun 2 '16 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ The premise is pretty flawed, and the question itself incredibly broad. Anything that affects society to this level is going to have sweeping implications as far as religion, politics, etc. is concerned. For example, imagine all the inhabitants of a city finding out they're dying on the same day - guess what, that city will get nuked. At that point will people not leave the city, or will the government not launch preemptive strikes against possible enemies? You see where I'm going, right? The military implications alone are staggering. Finding out when a ship or plane might go down, etc. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jun 2 '16 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ Uh... why would you want to offer another appointment in Point 1 when you already know what your death is going to be like? Because you are hoping you fall in the 1% error margin? Or can you actually influence your death date/ way of dying by acting in a certain way? $\endgroup$ – subrunner Jun 2 '16 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ I would think this would kill the credit industry unless they had access to this information also. After all, those with little net worth are going to max out their credit and enjoy what little time they have left to the fullest. $\endgroup$ – Dunk Jun 2 '16 at 15:31

As stated in the comments, this is an incredibly broad question, but there are some specifics that can be called out.

  • People would plan lives around death. People in American society mostly make decision as though they will die after 70; long-term career planning, family building, spending money on education and housing with expectation that the investment will pay off "in the long term". This is done couched with the possibility one would die immediately; regular vacations, life insurance, "cross off my bucket list", etc.

    If people knew somehow when they would die their entire lives would be organized differently... they could calculate the exact amount of money they need to live their exact number of years and do the things they want to do. They wouldn't have to take vacations early, as there would be no need; there could be a "work phase" and an "enjoy phase".

  • Entire industries would shift. The concept of insurance makes much less sense, as you said. The need for preventative medical care is likely also less relevant (depending on the definition of the question). There may be new industries as well; companies could loan out cash, in case you want to have your "enjoy phase" prior to your "work phase".

  • Crime would be different. The technology may not be leaked, but the data it generates would be incredibly valuable, and data is hard to keep secret. Espionage/sabotage would be a huge issue.

  • Privacy would be a huge issue. Leaking this data would have big implications. One huge issue would be discrimination... I only want people who will die young to do my physically-demanding, body-destroying task; I only want people who will die later for my long-term positions; I won't vote for someone who may die soon. Kids may be told they can't go into certain jobs because of their risk factors.

Probably lots of other implications as well related to culture and religion, these sprung to mind first.


Life insurance would become more and more expensive as you got closer to your appointed death date. Life insurance companies would refuse to insure people who had not discovered there death date or refused to till them when it was. And would not sell insurance to those who where try to by insurance five years or less from there death date.

Because of this I think most of population would take the test. Political parties would most certainly have there members take the test.

companies would also require the their ceo to take the test.

  • $\begingroup$ I think it was Clarke who wrote a short story about a man who could predict each person's death. He charged a fee for each person that wanted to use his device. The insurance companies hated him and sent assassins to kill him. $\endgroup$ – RichS Jun 2 '16 at 15:27

People would only use it I'd they were unhappy with their life. It would be considered the equivalent of smoking as far as social stigma.

The PREDICTOR will go through three phases...

1) Everybody wants to use it. The press is going crazy about how we can now tell the future. It is super popular.

2) Once people start using it they become obsessed with their death. A man told that he would die in a car crash will avoid all roads. This actually happens with people who believe in fortune tellers. Harvard and other prestigious IV league universities start coming out with studies about how knowing how you're going to die negatively effects your mental health. The media is actively calling to shut out down.

3) It becomes a dangerous thing to do. It's like doing drugs. Once you do it once you'll never be the same again. Those who are happy with their lives will not take it while those who are unhappy and have less to lose might.

In the end the government probably takes it down after phase two.


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