How many times we have stood before the trust of the next warning about the end of the world? 12.12.12, alien invasion or meteorite downfall — the Internet and news gave us enough reason to think over how to spend the last day of life. However, most such “predictions” were nothing more than “predictions”. We suggest you recall the thoughts of scientists, futurologists and other specialists: when and why should the end of the world be?
The theoretical physicist and author of the theory of black holes believed that for mankind, there are four variants of the end of the world: global climate change, the impact of a huge asteroid, nuclear war or artificial intelligence. At the expense of the last option, scientist worried most of all: he believed that people would not be able to properly use the assets of artificial intelligence. If he was able to apply it, directing efforts to develop the social sphere, the danger can be avoided. Hawking was afraid of the fact that there would be a generation of super people who would surpass ordinary people in everything: they would be stronger both physically and psychologically. This will lead the people to become helpless and, ultimately, to their degradation.
In early 2010, the Royal Society of London held a hearing on “Identifying extraterrestrial life and its implications for science and society”. It was attended by astrophysicists, biologists, NASA specialists and the United Nations Agency for Outer Space Affairs. One of the topics discussed was the potential existence of inhabitants of other galaxies and their dangers for the inhabitants of the Earth. Moreover, many scientists were pessimistic about this perspective: they believed that aliens could use our planet as a source of resources and completely invade it. Professor of Physics and Astronomy from the Dortmund College Marcelo Glazer has even developed a special formula for counting the number of “smart” civilizations which, theoretically, humanity can come into contact with.
In 2012, scientists from Cambridge University began to develop a study on global threats to humanity caused by the development of technology. Then they came to the conclusion that the greatest danger is artificial intelligence and technological singularity – a moment that will come when robots eliminate the need for real people. Due to the too strong dependence of people on technology, once robots will be able to rebel against humanity or replace it in the course of an arms race. And they also assumed that the aspiration of people to immortality could lead to our consciousness being transferred to an electronic medium. Futurist Raymond Kurzweil argues that in 20 years it will be possible to completely copy the brain of any person.
World War III
In the second half of the 20th century, most scientists believed that a nuclear war that would have led to global radioactive contamination could have been the result of the Cold War. Through the use of nuclear weapons, virtually, the entire world’s population could be destroyed, and even a limited nuclear conflict would be catastrophically changed the climate and environmental conditions. In particular, acid rain could have fallen, soils would be infected, and representatives of the plant and animal world would die massively. Another option was a world war with the use of biological weapons (viral organisms and their products of life). In addition to the extermination of mankind, biological weapons can have irreparable consequences for the state of the biosphere of the planet.
David Wake, the curator of the Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, suggests that the fungus and microorganisms can cause a mass extinction of the Earth’s population. Such super bacteria have an extraordinary curative resistance, that is, they cannot be treated with traditional drugs. Some scientists believe that it is the use of antibiotics to promote the reproduction of such bacteria. Moreover, many of them think that hereditary pathologies can lead to the extermination of the human race. Thanks to the advances in technology and medicine, people with weak genes and birth defects can also give birth to children, which can eventually lead to humanity becoming vulnerable even to the easiest illness.
Futurist, author of The Physics of the Future, Michio Kaku describes gamma-bursts in it – large-scale splashes of explosive space energy, which are still observed in distant galaxies. They are the strongest emissions of energy throughout the universe and can produce as much energy as possible for the second that our Sun will emit over the next 10 billion years. The direction of our gamma flash can completely destroy the Earth’s population. Initially, the electromagnetic pulse carried out by X-rays from the gamma-ray, would damage all the electronic equipment on the planet, and then destroy the entire ozone layer. The surface of the Earth would have heated up to incredible temperatures, causing the firestorms that would cover the entire planet.
Yes, this is not only a standard zombie movie script but also a realistic perspective of the end of the world, which is constantly being discussed by scientists. They raise the problem of human survival under the epidemic of a zombie virus, when non-infected people will remain a minority. Employees of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have even developed an official guide explaining what to do in the event of a zombie attack. And scientists from the University of Ottawa have investigated that zombies can capture a city with a half-million population in just 3 days. But the most effective way to fight is still the destruction of absolutely all carriers of the zombie virus.