Good news! You may no longer need to go to that shady $5 tarot card reading spot, or read your horoscope to get your fortune told—Google can do that for you…by predicting when you’ll be sleeping with the fishes. Dramatic? Yes. Factually incorrect? No.
According to Bloomberg, a woman with late-stage breast cancer came to a hospital with fluid in her lungs and when doctors used their regular computers to read her vitals, they predicted she had a 9.3 percent of dying during her stay. When Google came in, cracked their knuckles, and ran their report, the algorithm crunched through 175,639 data points and calculated a 19.9 percent risk. Unfortunately, she ended up passing away a few days later.
Google’s health research unit, Medical Brain, has been working on this kind-of creepy but effective algorithm, and has reported a 95 percent accuracy for predicting inpatient mortality at one hospital. On one hand, doctors can spend more time working with patients instead of with their data, but also, what will HAL 9000 do when we outlive Google’s prediction?
If you’re itching to clear your cache and cover your phone’s camera, you can hold on a second. While people have brought up Google’s less-than-spotless history of data ethics and privacy, like their run-in with UK data privacy regulators in 2016, Google has insisted that the “data is anonymous, secure and used with patient permission.” In the meantime, maybe preparing your will isn’t the worst idea.