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Feb 15 2014

Death watch

Olga Khazan has an article in The Atlantic about a watch that tells you how much time you have left before you die. What’s the point of it?

A new watch called Tikker claims to have created a way to calculate approximately when, according to its creators, a person is likely to die, and then to input that date into a wristwatch. The idea is that being constantly reminded of his or her own mortality will nudge the wearer to live life to the fullest.

How does it know when you are likely to die?

First, Tikker users fill out a questionnaire about their health habits, risk factors, and age. That information generates the time, down to the second, that the wearer has left until they leave this mortal coil.

It costs $59. It also tells the time, by the way.

Oddly enough, its website refers to it as ‘The Happiness Watch’, though I am not sure that is the most apropos description. It does raise an interesting question, though. While we are all conscious of our mortality in the back of our minds, would we be happier being constantly reminded of it in such a concrete way? Even if it prompts you to ‘live life to the fullest’, wouldn’t knowing that you are doing things because you are going to die take away some of the fun?

Stephen Colbert talked about it on his show.

The Colbert Report
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(This clip aired on January 22, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Al Dente

    I want to die like my grandfather, who went peacefully in his sleep, not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    “Respice ante te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!”

  3. 3
    baryogenesis

    Al Dente–Jebus that was funny.

  4. 4
    Mano Singham

    @Al Dente,

    It took a few seconds for me to get the joke but that makes it even funnier!

  5. 5
    sigurd jorsalfar

    Does it come with a deathtime guarantee?

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    I wonder if it calculates the odds that knowing the time of your death will make it happen earlier (because you give up become fatalistic and don’t try to reduce your risks factors*) or later because you realise that you do want to live longer than that and so change some lifestyle factors under your control eg. stop smoking, eat less junk food, drink less etc ..

    I also wonder how it takes into account the random accident and even possible asteroid / comet impact factor!

    Come to think of it wonder how it takes Human-Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) and its consequences into consideration?

    * Or even spend so much time looking at it that you’re not paying attention to where you are and, say, get hit by a train as a result.)

  7. 7
    left0ver1under

    Wow, “Tikker” accounts for and predicts deaths by brain aneurysms and strokes, car accidents, murders, gas plant explosions, etc. What’s that? It doesn’t? Then what’s its value?

    I’m too busy enjoying the Now to worry about how much time is left. Once I started directing my efforts towards my own goals and stopped trying to fill others’ expectations, life became a lot more fun.

    To quote Smashmouth, “Are there more years behind than ahead?” I say, who cares?

    http://youtu.be/paVED2TFvEk

    I was looking for an ad for the game Perfection, but that short film says it a thousand times better.

  8. 8
    Trebuchet

    I’m over 65, overweight, under-exercised, don’t eat a great diet, have had multiple skin cancers, and have a family history of a couple of serious diseases. Do they have one that runs backwards?

  9. 9
    Jockaira

    You’ll know that the end is near when your life insurance company stops sending you friendly notices to

    “Pay On Time–Or Your Policy Will Be Cancelled!”

  10. 10
    Mano Singham

    I think Keith Richard should be the patron saint of people like us!

  11. 11
    Marcus Ranum

    @richardelguru – you beat me to it!

  12. 12
    funknjunk

    Does Karl Pilkington get a cut of this? He mentioned this idea on the Ricky Gervais show … and the comedic beating he took was hilarity. And now it’s a thing…. ah, behold marketing…

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