When it comes to pastimes that manage to be both morbid and of dubious scientific rigour, ‘death calculators’ are up there with Ouija boards and tarot cards.
However, unlike these also-rans, the death calculator has now been updated for the mobile age of ubiquitous smartphones and fitness trackers.
A new iPhone app named Deadline claims that instead of just asking you 20 questions about your smoking habits and whether or not you live in an earthquake danger zone, it’ll accurately work out the date of your demise by using medical data from Apple’s new HealthKit app.
In theory it’s not a bad idea. HealthKit is part of the recent trend of fitness-focused smartphone software (and hardware) and is able to collate a massive range of data – everything from sleeping patterns and calorie intake to blood pressure and lung capacity. All that could add up to a more accurate prediction about users’ mortality
However, according to tech site Gizmodo there’s nothing new going on behind the scenes with Deadline - just a “generic algorithm” with all the predictive power of a magic 8 ball that'll look busy and then spit out a plausible sounding prediction. (eg, 'Dear reader: you’ve got 49 years left to live.' Prove me wrong.)
Still, the app does offer a handy widget that slots into the iPhone’s revamped notification center (click here for our guide on how to get the most out of that) and cheerily counts down the time you've got till you’re due to kick the bucket: a useful motivator perhaps for those who can’t quite force themselves to the gym.
To be clear: we don't recommend buying this app if you actually want to find out when you'll die. It won't help. However, research this month suggests that there's one fairly way to predict when you'll die - when you lose your sense of smell.Reuse content