ChatGPT is good at synthesising information, but it’s not very selective and will fold in bad studies and flawed information. “So, if you’re in an area where the science is unsettled or the human knowledge is just not there yet,” he said, “ChatGPT is going to be just as bad if not worse than a person.” 

Predicting a healthy person’s long-off death is just science fiction, he said: “We need to be careful when we’re asking it to do things that are still clearly sci-fi.”


Sometimes fiction can provide a reality check by reminding us that our actions influence the future – even in cases of life and death.

Consider what happened in the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol. The Ghost of Christmas Future gave Ebenezer Scrooge a terrifying preview of loneliness, grief and death. Scrooge then asks a smart, critical question: “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?” 

If the reporters trying to scare people with life2vac had asked that question, they would have gotten the same answer Scrooge did from the ghost: Of course, our actions can change the future. A forecast doesn’t seal our fate in stone.  

This new system reinforces what other studies have shown – that income and job type can affect the length of your life. Being poor and having a job where others have power over you is correlated with premature death.

It’s something Dickens recognised long ago. Maybe AI can turn this general observation into poignant real-life scenarios that will motivate modern-day Scrooges to address the inequalities that shorten so many lives. 


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