WTF Fun Fact 13667 – AI Predicts Life Events

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to push the boundaries of what we believe is possible – in fact, now AI predicts human life events.

A groundbreaking study recently revealed the potential of AI to forecast significant life occurrences with notable precision.

AI Predicts Life’s Complex Patterns

At the heart of this innovative research is a model known as “ife2vec.” This transformative AI tool was trained using vast amounts of data about people’s lives. This includes their residence, education, income, health, and work conditions. By employing ‘transformer models’ akin to the renowned ChatGPT, life2vec systematically organized this data to predict future events. This includes their time of death.

The researchers’ approach was to treat human life as a sequence of events, much like words in a sentence. This method allowed the AI to identify patterns and make predictions about future occurrences. Surprisingly, life2vec demonstrated a superior ability to predict outcomes such as personality traits and time of death compared to other advanced neural networks.

The Ethical Implications of Predictive AI

The promise of predictive AI in enhancing our understanding of life patterns is undeniable. But it also raises significant ethical questions. Issues around data protection, privacy, and potential biases inherent in the data are crucial considerations. Before such models can be applied in practical settings, like assessing individual disease risks or other significant life events, these ethical challenges must be thoroughly understood and addressed.

Looking ahead, the research team envisions incorporating various data forms into their model, such as text, images, or information about social connections. This expansion could revolutionize the interaction between social and health sciences, offering a more holistic view of human life and its potential trajectories.

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Source: “Artificial intelligence can predict events in people’s lives” — ScienceDaily

WTF Fun Fact 13022 – The World’s Fresh Water

Seventy-one percent of the Earth is covered in water, but that doesn’t mean we can use it all. But what percent of the world’s water is fresh (and therefore useable for humans to ingest)? Just 2.55 – and much of that is trapped in glaciers. Only 0.007% is available to us for use. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Interestingly, that’s roughly the same amount of freshwater that has always existed on Earth.

The world’s freshwater

Water is a valuable resource. If you’ve ever been without fresh water, even for a short time, you probably know exactly how panic-inducing a lack of fresh water can be. But for many people, fresh water is something we’ve always had and never really questioned. Those are the lucky minority.

It’s a bit startling to realize that the Earth’s freshwater resources have been around for hundreds of millions of years. What we drink has been recycled many, many times, whether it’s via the atmosphere or through our drinking water cups (and we’ll leave you to figure out how that works and then appreciate your local water treatment facility on your own).

Because we have very limited means of creating potable water out of saltwater through desalinization technology, it’s very hard to make enough new freshwater to sustain more humans. And that’s bad news when you think about how much water goes into things we enjoy – NatGeo says “the average hamburger takes 2,400 liters, or 630 gallons, of water to produce.

Fresh water keeps us alive

An increasingly large human population means we will need more water for hygiene, cooking, and drinking.

According to National Geographic (cited below): “Water scarcity is an abstract concept to many and a stark reality for others. It is the result of myriad environmental, political, economic, and social forces.” It has always been this way – people have fought wars over access to freshwater supplies for thousands of years.

“Due to geography, climate, engineering, regulation, and competition for resources, some regions seem relatively flush with freshwater, while others face drought and debilitating pollution. In much of the developing world, clean water is either hard to come by or a commodity that requires laborious work or significant currency to obtain,” they note.

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Source: “Freshwater Crisis” — National Geographic

WTF Fun Fact 12608 – Predicting the Future With Cheese

While the practice itself is not recorded in detail, at least one ancient source – Artemidorus of Daldis – refers to the practice of tyromancy, or predicting the future using cheese.

Humans have used all sorts of strange objects to try and read the future, including bones, tea leaves, and animal entrails. But we have to admit that cheese divination is new to us.

According to Mental Floss, the only recorded reference to tyromancy in the ancient world is from a skeptic, “the Greek diviner Artemidorus.” While he believed in divination, he “did not feel that cheese divination was very reliable, and included cheese diviners among his list of ‘false diviners,’ alongside dice diviners, sieve-diviners, and necromancers. (The interpretation of dreams and livers was far more dependable, he felt.)”

The practice of tyromancy involved reading the meaning of holes in a piece of cheese. In some cases, women would write the names of men on pieces of cheese, and the first to mold was thought to predict their ideal mate.

While there is scarce evidence for its practice, Ohio History Connection, a non-profit history organization, says:

“Tyromancy is the ancient art of divining the future through cheese, and has been used by various cultures around the world for centuries. By the 19th century, tyromancers would offer visitors a platter of different cheeses and determine their path based on which piece they were drawn to.”

Tyromancy is not the only cheese-based divination method. According to Interesly:

“Another method of Tyromancy was to write the possible answers to a question on separate pieces of cheese and then place them inside a cage along with a hungry rodent. Whichever piece the mouse ate first was the correct answer. This manner of divination was also a form of Myomancy.”

Frankly, we don’t expect to predict the future with cheese, but we’re not opposed to buying more cheese just in case. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Witchy Wheys: Cast Spells and Predict the Future with Cheese Witchy Wheys: Cast Spells and Predict the Future with Cheese” — culture