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May 16, 2017 AT 10:10 am

Algorithm Plays Life Expectancy Game if Natural Causes Removed from Equation

What’s really shocking about this Polstats ‘life expectancy’ equation game isn’t the frequency by which humans die from motor vehicle accidents, but that if natural causes of death are altogether removed from the equation of life then the average lifespan jumps to 8,938 years. But! That’s just the average! So for example in my screenshot below someone died as young as 43; while someone else lived to age 36,007! No game is the same, so while the odds remain consistent the outcome is always slightly different. Aerial crashes while shocking when they happen are statistically rare even when spread out over thousands of years and death from a lightning strike remains the most rare of all causes known (you’d have to play the game 100K times to get, on average, one lightning strike death).

Let’s pretend a medical breakthrough occurred, eliminating all “natural” causes of death. No more cancer, no more heart attacks, no more respiratory failures… how would that affect life expectancy?

Answer: it would increase from 78 years — today’s average in the U.S. — to a much more impressive 8,938 years. This interactive visualization simulates human lives in an imaginary world where natural death does not occur. A graph below shows the probability statistics used for the simulation. A link is provided as well, showing the actuarial calculations.

Read more.

Life expectancy data was taken from the Insurance Information Institute, which based its figures on the National Center for Health Statistics’ 2013 report.

Check out this spreadsheet to see the calculations that went into determining life expectancy based on the odds of death provided.

Read more.


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