What starts has to end one day. Such is the circle of life. How this world will meet its end is an endless source of fascination the answer to which is unknown. However, scientists have claimed that what we see in movies – an alien invasion or a geostorm, may not be far fetched. Read on as we try and find out some threats that might result in a doomsday.
Machines with an immense amount of intelligence might be difficult to control. Developments in commonly used AI like Siri and Google Assistant are just the starting. AI is slowly becoming one of the biggest markets in the world with companies spending billions of dollars in R&D. Self learning robots are being developed to help humans make their tasks easier. However, if they use these resources to increase their intelligence and develop a thinking of their own, they might just turn on us.
According to reports, there are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons on this earth. With tensions rising among countries, a nuclear war might not be far away. Moreover, for a nuclear winter to occur, a detonation of only a 100 of these powerful weapons is required. Nuclear weapons can kill thousands of people upon impact, and their lingering effects create even more harm.
Leena Srivastava, the vice chancellor of TERI University in India, wrote that despite the Paris climate deal, there is a 90% chance that global temperature increases will exceed 2 degrees Celsius this century. Moreover, according to reports, the world is not on track to prevent this from happening. Humans have been blamed for disturbing the balance of the environment. Famines, mass deaths, social collapse and mass migration ignite global conflict.
Biological weapons and chemicals can be made for a lot lesser amount than you can imagine. A biological weapon can cause a global catastrophe if a pathogen leads to a pandemic. If such a virus enters the water bodies, it can really lead to a total wipeout. Reports suggest that even though biological weapons have been banned, they have been used atleast 4 times in the past 4 decades.
Food shortage is a concern in a lot of areas of the world. Similarly, a water shortage can also lead to food shortages and famines. It is predicted that by 2025, some 2.8 billion people will live in ‘water scarce’ areas – a huge rise from the 1.6 billion who do now. With the growing population and the global food supply chain being complex, the consequences of food shortage would be disastrous.
While the probability of an asteroid of such a size that it would result in extinction is extremely low, we cannot completely ignore this possibility. In January 2017, an asteroid as big as a 10-story building passed by Earth at a distance half that of the Moon. Moreover, we know what happened to the dinosaurs. The good news is that, Tim Spahr, the CEO of NEO Sciences, wrote that an asteroid big enough to produce a worldwide catastrophe is likely to hit the Earth every 120,000 years.
By Abhishek Aggarwal