Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Death Clock

Wanna know when you are going to die? The Death Clock allegedly* can tell you. "The Internet's friendly reminder that life is slipping away," you put in your birth date, Body Mass Index and whether or not you are a smoker and apparently it will calculate the date and time of your death. I did not try it. It creeps me out. I did, however, click on "Obituaries" and I was able to access when Britney Spears will die. Hers was the first to pop up. There is a countdown clock and everything, the seconds ticking away towards her death. I find it disturbing.

*I say "allegedly" because I don't think the Death Clock takes into account sudden or unexpected death, such as by car crash, plane crash, random mugging gone awry. It appears that it calculates when, if all goes well, you will die of natural causes, although it does take into consideration such factors as obesity and cancer from smoking.


pbsebastian said...

Despite all of the missing variables that could contribute to a person's death I was surprised by my hesitation pushing the "check your death clock" button.

My personal day of death is Thursday, November 3, 2050.

But what time?

Kurt Chiang said...

During work, at the 11:30ish hour, some people watch the Martha Stewart show in the lunch cubicle just beyond my desk. I can hear the show, and this episode had a guy come on a pick some people in the audience and he told them what their life expectancy was, based mostly on your heart condition. After you knew your life expectancy, the idea was to plug in and take away certain habits in your life that could give you a few more years. As if you were a car, or a Xerox machine. I found it strange.

The Fool Machine Collective said...

I could find myself scared to press the button like Peter, but along with that what comes to mind is The Myth Of Sisyphus where Camus talks about how you can prepare and take care of yourself and then without knowing you get hit by a car. Also in science mostly since the quantum the world is finding so many variables that I doubt you could possibly know anything for sure. Although for our one of our one-off shows it may be interesting to have a computer with this site or something similar for people to interact with. Perhaps we could rig it so every once in awhile the computer says "now" and we come and take them away.

pbsebastian said...

For me, the death clock evokes this question. If you have the ability to know when you were going to die would you choose to know? If faced with such a question I would probably choose ignorance. There is a certain degree of fatalism that would come with such knowledge. If such knowledge is even, theoretically, possible. I find that fatalism uncomfortable. It places bookends around my entire life. Are both bookends already set? If my own death is already set then what else in my life is already determined?

The survey for the clock also raised this question. What other factors could be considered in considering a person’s death clock? Here are a few that I came up with:

How often do you exercise?
Does your family have a history of ______?
What country do you live in?
Do you have health insurance?
Do you participate in extreme sports?

The list could go on and on....

I like the rigged computer idea. Here is a variation. Perhaps we could have it tell every person that their death would occur sometime within the hour. We could remove the people from the show according to their projected death time until there is one person left. That person could be granted immortality. They could be left in the theater alone. Alone, like the last person on earth.

Anonymous said...

I got really depressed one day and decided I wanted to "know". now I can walk over the day of my alleged death and die alittle each time. what a waste of time. it told me I will die at the age of 80. May 30th.