back to article Japanese algorithm 'can tell if you're about to die'

Apparently respectable programmers in Japan claim to have developed an algorithm which can tell, merely by listening to a person briefly, whether or not they are about to die. The revolutionary doomsniffer software was developed by Kenji Ohshige and a crack team of boffins at the Yokohama City University. It was developed not …


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  1. Cyberspy

    Sounds great until...

    someone makes the phone call for the dying person, and the medics take their time because the person who made the call sounded just great!

  2. Dan 63

    Resource Management

    Caller: "I need an ambulance!!"

    Operator: "Computer says no." <cough>

  3. Anonymous John


    I've only got fiv

    <No carrier>

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Good News Everyone!

    Didnt the esteemed Professor Farnsworth invent a death clock in the year 3000?

    Next they will invent the finger-longer and put remote control manufacturers out of business!

  5. Yorkshirepudding

    who needs an algorithm

    when you have the famous last words:

    "watch this!"

  6. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: who needs an algorithm

    See also: "I'll be right back". And women who have been told by James Bond that he loves them. Etc.

  7. Liam Johnson


    Does that mean they might not bother sending out the ambulance and just send out the hearse instead?

  8. Barry Tabrah

    How to get help fast

    Everything you need to know in order to get that ambulance to you first. Includes breathing exercises and phrases guaranteed to make it sound like you're dieing.

  9. Will Shaw


    Coincidentally, I've just finished writing a program that can tell if you're about to snort with derision.

  10. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Dead Vulture

    Re: who needs an algorithm

    Anyone you've never seen before on a TV series (redshirts - )

    Anyone who muses on about their 'gal back home' in a war movie

    Anyone who lives in Midsomer or Holby


  11. Sureo


    Does it only work if you speak Japanese?

    It would be nice to have a bedside unit. You could talk to it each morning and then decide whether to get out of bed or not.

  12. John Robson Silver badge

    Great idea

    But only as an indicator - last girl I had to call an ambulanbce for (would have survived for a good while, but that's not relevant) was finding breathing sufficiently difficlut that she couldn't phone.

    The "this isn't the patient" button on the operators screen would be useful.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gauntlet did it years ago

    Something along the lines of

    IF health < 20 THEN

    "Wizard... is about to die!"

  14. Dale 3
    Dead Vulture

    Re: who needs an algorithm

    Anyone associated with a family member of Jessica Fletcher.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    sounds easy...

    "merely by listening to a person briefly"

    caller : "I've been shot in the head"

    computer : 90% death likelihood

    caller : "I've had an accident with my trousers zipper"

    computer : sniggers 5% death

    Odds could be further refined by asking the simple question. "Are you about to die?" then analysing the bried 'yes/no' response.

    Humanity saved, pints all round!

  16. Andus McCoatover

    Wish NSN had seen that...

    Seems that Nokia Networks and Siemens could've used that, rather than pissing about with Viterbi algorithms...Should've listened for the approaching ambulance siren instead.

    Then I might still have had a job. Bugger.

    -Seymour Bybus (Old Nokian's will know that monicker).

  17. Andy 21
    Paris Hilton

    Its a Paris ....

    Begin "Hello World"

    If X = NHS Patient

    then "Goodbye World"

    End Prog

    Only Paris get excited about a stiff !

  18. Annihilator Silver badge

    "Merely listening"

    "correlating such factors from the calls as "breathing status" and "consciousness level" with the eventual result of the call - for instance, was the caller then found dead or dying by responding paramedics, or were they comparatively frisky."

    So... if you're consiousness and breathing, chances are good. If you're unconscious and not breathing, renew your life insurance sharpish. Awesome breakthrough that is.

    Doesn't sound too hard, I could knock that up in a couple of IF statements :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Who needs an algorithm

    See also person in opening scenes of CSI, Casualty...

    For the (unfortunate) corollary, see Kim Bauer (annoying child, oh-so-frequent-kidnap-victim and inexplicably a CTU agent) in 24

  20. Graham Bartlett

    It's easy!

    If not breathing, person is either dead now or soon will be. Job done.

  21. Richard 102


    Wait, I thought, when the US conservatives were criticizing the NHS, that you Brits defended it mightily. You mean it's NOT a little slice of heaven on earth? Just like you had been saying for decades?

  22. Tzael

    "There's an app for that!"

    How long until someone markets this as an app for the iPhone? Speak to your iPhone once a day to find out if today's the day!

  23. Anonymous Coward


    <Alert! this person is about to die>

  24. thefutureboy

    Does it take into account?

    Being a Star Trek security guard who's never been seen before but is joining the landing party?

    Being the young soldier in the platoon with the picture of his bride to be/soon to give birth wife that he shows around the night before the big battle?

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Nathan Explosion is a God!

    All kneel and praise DethKlok!

    ( Look them up in WikI. )

  26. Luther Blissett

    Bugger Bognor

    Famous last words of a past British monarch. Can they now be computed correctly?

  27. Gilbert Wham

    @ Richard 102

    No, it's not a slice of heaven on earth. Obviously, as you're *really fucking ill*, being in hospital is shit. It's just being in hospital then not being bankrupt afterwards is lots better than being, well, American. See?

  28. Paul Corbett 2

    And also

    2 more days to retirement and just bought a boat

  29. asdf

    yeoman johnson

    >Being a Star Trek security guard who's never been seen before but is joining the landing party?

    As Eddie Murphy (honestly he used to be hillarious kids before he started making 2 hour long kids toilet humor movies) says, "Bones, Spock, come with me. Yeoman Johnson you go that way by yourself down the dark spooky path." Boy this economy has me and many others feeling like Yeoman Johnson these days.

  30. SisterClamp

    I believe efficiency is increased...

    ...if you say things such as, "OMG! I'm about to--" and then cut the line in a dramatic fashion. But I think that might just be a software Enhancement Request as Development won't be sure whether you're coming or going! Oh, I slay myself!

  31. Captain DaFt

    Some classics

    "Here, hold my beer, I wanna try something!"

    "Let me show you what happened."

    "Nah, I've done this dozens of times, it's safe."

    "No need for all of that safety gear, it'll only take me a minute."

    "Take the hammer, I'll hold the spike, and when I nod my head, you hit it!"

    "Don't worry, they just say "Don't try this at home" for legal reasons."

    Coat, because I'm out the door when I hear one of these from somebody.

  32. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    From the full report

    "If the estimated life threat risk was higher than 10%, the triage form categorized patients

    into A+ (the probability that the patient faced a risk of dying was very high), and an

    ambulance, a fast response car, and a fire engine were dispatched."

    And yet none of the questions they asked was "Are you on fire?"

  33. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So they are trying to detect if you're going to die

    And what, pray tell, is the use of such a tool ?

    If I phone for help, I want it pretty damn sharp whether or not I'm going to die.

    Up to now I have only had to phone for help twice - once for my mother, once for my daughter. In both cases, I was counting on the ambulance getting there as fast as humanly possible.

    In both cases, the computer would have indicated that I'm not about to die. Would the ambulance have been slowed down by that ?

    "Hey guys, you gotta get to this address, but take it easy, the victim's not dying, she's just in terrible pain."

    "Gotcha Joe, I'll finish my coffee and be on my way."

    No thanks, really. I prefer the method without death detection.

  34. Steen Hive

    @Gilbert Wham

    "It's just being in hospital then not being bankrupt afterwards is lots better than being, well, American. See?"

    They are incapable of seeing. In their sad little bizarro uiniverse, see, not being able to pay means deserving to die. Make no mistake this is completely acceptable and moral to the sorry fucks, mainly because their definition of rationality is so sorely abberant, like all extremists.

  35. wsm


    I, too, question the purpose of this "tool." Is it so a dispatcher can so "No rush, they'll be dead by the time you get there?"

    Maybe it's so they can determine candidates for terminal hold, like the tech support for major hardware vendors do.

  36. password

    100% Accuracy

    I have developed a new system which can do the same as the japanese on but with a much higher degree of accuracy. It's essentially a voice recognition programme which looks for the phrases:

    "Help i've just been stabbed"

    "I wonder if that snake was poisonous"

    "The house is on fire and i'm trapped under a beam"

    and the all time favorite

    "what bus?"

  37. Adam Foxton


    and don't forget "Hey, y'all- watch this!"

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