Boomsday (Christopher Buckley)

“You loaded the software and typed in the search words. Say you’d been arrested for drunk driving or soliciting a prostitute, or you’d been in a gossip page biting the ear of some pretty young thing in a nightclub. Or, for that matter, you had been charged by the SEC with swindling your shareholders. You typed in your name, along with “drunk driving” or “prostitute” or “ear” or “embezzling.” Spider Repellent found all the references to you on the Web and – deleted them.”

“As the baby boomers shuffle into their sunset years, Uncle Sam will hand them a bundle of juicy tax breaks and assorted perks in return for agreeing to a painless lethal injection at age 65. Too draconian? Not to worry. A second option would give slightly less generous benefits to those who prefer to hang around to age 70.”

“I’d like to be in charge for just five minutes. Balance the books. Get us out of debt. Be nice to our friends, tell our enemies to fuck off. Clean up the air and the water. Throw corporate crooks in the clink. Put dignity back in government. Fix things.” — Randolph K. Jepperson

BADMAP is an acronym for Bio-Actuarial Dyna-Metric Age Predictor. It works like this:

” A person’s DNA profile, family history, mental history, lifestyle profile, every variable –how many trips to the grocery per week, how many airplane flights, hobbies, food, booze, number of times per month you had sex and with whom, everything down to what color socks you put on in the morning– were all fed into the software. RIP-ware would then calculate and predict how and when you’d die. In the testing, they had programmed it retroactively with the DNA and lifestyle profile of thousand of people who had already died. RIP-ware predicted their deaths with an accuracy of 99.07 percent. In a simulation, it predicted the death of Elvis Presley — just four months from the actual date of his demise. The ultimate “killer app.”

Insurance companies had been working on similar programs. What a windfall it would be for them if they could sell life insurance to someone they knew was going to live another forty years–and conversely decline life insurance to someone the computer predicted would be pushing up daisies within two years.

Another field of vast potential were the old folks’ homes. typically, these demanded that a prospective resident turn over his and her entire net worth in return for perpetual care. You could live two years or twenty years; that was their gamble. But if a nursing home knew,in advance, that John Q. smith was going to have a fatal heart attack in 2.3 years while watching an ad for toenail fungus ointment on the evening news, they would much rather have his nest egg as advance payment than that of, say, Jane Q. Jones, who RIP-ware predicted would live another twenty-five years and die at the ripe old age of 105.

“In cyberspace everyone can hear you scream”

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley