The History of My Deaths

You’ll die from an aortic rupture at 82. But you still have 41 years more to go. Happy mid-life!

Today I complete my mid-life anniversary. 🎂

I just got my yearly death-history report from the SSB—the Social Security Bureau. As I completed forty-one years old, my death date converged to eighty-two years, with an uncertainty smaller than one year by the first time. That’s it: I’ll die at eighty-two after “a cardiovascular accident, most probably an aortic rupture.”

Many people chose to opt-out and not get the yearly reports. They prefer to live in the dark about their death dates. Not me. Every year, at my birthday, I anxiously wait for the Bureau message. I carefully check the death chart to compare how it was updated in relation to the last years.

It isn’t only an egocentrically morbid curiosity, there are also practical reasons. Knowing my death date allows me to make plans. I know, for instance, given my current investment profile and pension plan, I can retire at sixty-seven, keeping my current income level until my death. And because my death chart sets me as a low-cost client, I pay a health insurance premium about three times lower than that of people who opt-out. Even if my death chart predicted that I may need some intense health treatment in the future, it would still be advantageous to know it, as I could focus my savings to deal with that.

I know that many people also like to keep their death date private (as recommended by the SSB, by the way). They fear that they may face discrimination, or have problems to get loans, or upset their loved ones, all this stuff. I used to worry about these things as well. But now that my death date converged and I know that my mid-life is in the normal range of my demographics, I don’t care anymore.

This is the reason of this post. I’ll make my death chart public by the first time!

It still amazes me how actuarial sciences evolved in the last years. As a nonspecialist, I read a lot to understand the principles of their predictions. It goes much beyond traditional Bayesian inference, into deep-thought AI fed by tons of socio-psychological-genetic data.

You know, there are dozens of apps that allow yourself to compute death-charts. But they are far away from the accuracy from those issued by the SSB. The Bureau has the most advanced algorithms and access to the most complete database. They know your DNA, they know your health history, they keep track of your consumption habits, they build your psychological profile out of your social network interactions. The SSB crosses data with all other government agencies. They have access to your driving history, tax declarations, civil procedures.

The SSB death charts became so precise that when they tell me that I will die at eighty-two plus-minus one, I don’t dispute that. I know that’s bind to happen.

Well, within 90% of chances. There are the residuals: two percent of chances that I’ll live longer; and eight percent that I’ll die before. And how detailed the death chart is! My residuals discriminate 4% chances for stroke at about 60 years old, 1% for traffic related accidents, 0.2% for abdominal cancer, 0.03% for “suicide following depression at the 55-60 age range,” <0.001% for airplane accidents.

Of course, I’m not silly, I try to improve my odds. Since my death date started to converge to about eighty years, I’ve been running many death-chart simulations trying to stretch my lifespan.

Less meat, more exercise; electing a conservative parliament, electing a progressist president; moving to the mountains, taking holidays at the beach; I’ve tested so many variables, none made any statistically significant difference.

Running a life-span optimizer, I discovered, however, that a seven figures salary and a daughter (why not a son? it escapes me) could shift my death date ahead by two or three years. Now I just have to convince my boss and my wife 😉

But I’m starting to blab. At this rhythm, I’ll die before finishing this post…

Then, here it goes. As promised, my death chart goes public:

Exciting, isn’t?

You see year by year, from zero to forty-one how my death-history evolved. You see from forty-two on how it should evolve. Of course, the next year predictions will be Bayesianely updated and I’ll get them at my next birthdays from the SSB’s messages.

I really like to analyze my death chart. It helps to understand my life; the paths I’ve chosen and those I’ve abandoned.

See that soft death-cloud when I was a teen? That’s typical for males between sixteen to twenty-two. We have strong bodies and half-matured brains. That’s recipe for disaster. That’s the reason people often say “don’t trust anyone under thirty.” Obviously, I survived that death peak.

That another little sharp peak when I was twenty-six? That was my military service term in the middle east. It appeared for the first time in my twenty-five-years-old SSB report, right after I received the notice that I’d be deployed. I still remember myself trembling, looking at the bump in the chart as if it were a tumor in a biopsy.

The shadow at thirty-two? I was sent to Rio for one year as a company’s representative for Latin America. It turned out it was a nice time and I came back alive.

Since a couple of years ago, the chart started to show a soft ridge for “death due to stroke at the later fifties.” I don’t know the reason it showed up only now. What am I doing wrong? Nothing to be especially alarmed about, according to my physician. But it seems that the SSB knows me better than myself anyway.

Remember the terror-attack wave about ten years ago? Everyone panicking about those coward bastards blowing trains and shopping malls. Yep: no sign of that in my death chart. The danger was overestimated by public opinion, sensationalist media, and slander politicians. Despite all that ado, the terror attacks never increased my death chances.

And that’s also a lesson for all those people afraid of checking their death charts: only they don’t know them. Everyone else—companies, banks, politicians, government—knows with more or less accuracy our death charts. And they use that info all the time for the better or the worse. Anyone who doesn’t check her own death chart is just putting herself in disadvantage.

For now, that’s it. But before I finish, I’d like to thank you all beforehand for all mid-life greetings.

MB



Categories: Fiction

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1 reply

  1. Amazing! First time to know this technology.

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