According to the host of The Infographics Show YouTube channel, there are a number of different reasons why the world could end. He named eight of them.
- Nanotechnology. This is the biggest threat to the planet and humanity. After conducting a series of studies, the Institute for the Future of Humanity stated that the probability of human extinction by 2100 is 19 percent. In general, nanotechnology in its essence is the creation and study of things at the molecular level. These are objects that are smaller than 100 nanometers, and there are 25,400,000 nanometers in one inch (2.54 cm). This technology can be used in various areas: in construction, medicine, transport, etc. Thanks to it, you can make tools stronger and more durable. However, all this can also be dangerous: a catastrophic situation could arise if someone decides to create weapons of mass destruction in this way. In general, the creation of such weapons is inevitable, the presenter believes. Nanorobots can also be developed to destroy people like insects.
- A killer combination of things . The most terrible extinction at the moment is considered the Permian-Triassic. Because of this, 95 percent of the species of marine creatures, 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrates, most insects died. It happened 250 million years ago, and in a natural way. That is, of course. This process could continue from 10 to 10 thousand years. Then, at the same time, there was a massive volcanic eruption in Siberia, causing the oceans to warm up and the air filled with greenhouse gases. Further, when the dust clouds settled, there was still a lot of carbon dioxide in the air and it warmed up even more. Water and soil have also become more toxic. The situation was aggravated by large emissions of methane and hydrogen sulfide. Some scientists believe that we are now naturally heading towards yet another extinction event.
- Biological weapons created by man . Humanity could perish if someone accidentally or intentionally released an artificially created virus. This virus will be created using genetic engineering technologies (gene editing). There is a possibility of randomly developing a “doomsday virus”.
- Supervolcano. In 2019, an article was published in the New York Times about the possibility of a dangerous volcanic eruption. It was the Yellowstone supervolcano, due to which life on Earth could be destroyed. However, over the past 2.1 million years, it has erupted only three times, and the last one was about 640 thousand years ago. At the same time, if such a volcano erupts tomorrow, large areas will be covered with lava. For people living nearby, it would also be dangerous because the sky above them would become dark due to volcanic ash. As these ash clouds move on, soil contamination and power outages are possible. In addition, the temperature on the planet may drop dramatically and not rise for several years, and the amount of precipitation will drop sharply. Further, tropical rainforests may die and, in general, agriculture will be destroyed. Perhaps one volcano will not cause the death of mankind, but if they erupt even with a difference of several years two or three, then this can lead to a similar result.
- Artificial intelligence . Nick Bostrom, an expert on artificial intelligence (AI), has long warned of the dangers of AI systems. In his opinion, superintelligent AI can destroy the world, as happened in the Terminator. Also, people can make a mistake when programming AI, and this will lead to their destruction. Elon Musk thinks the same way. The fact is that a person creates an AI that can improve itself, and this can make the robot more powerful than expected. Sudden self-destruction of the system, that is, an explosion, is also possible.
- War . For example, atomic bombs have the potential to really end human existence. The United States has about 1,750 nuclear weapons, but Russia has the most with about 1,600. There is also China, and how many such weapons it has is unknown. Great Britain, Pakistan, France, Israel, India, North Korea also have such weapons. BBC experts believe that 14,900 nuclear warheads could destroy up to a billion people within the first hour after the explosions. After that, people can develop radiation sickness, which will also lead to death.
- natural pandemic . This has happened before. Examples: Spanish flu viruses (1918-1920), “black death” (plague, 1346-1353), etc. Due to the latter, for example, 30 to 60 percent of Europeans died. According to scientists, the world is now completely unprepared for a global deadly pandemic. Therefore, this can lead to the extinction of people. Experts believe that humanity may be affected by a mysterious pathogen that may be incurable.
- Collision of the Earth with an asteroid . One of the most popular theories. In fact, this may very well be the case. 66 million years ago, as a result of such an event, many living beings on the planet died. Then an asteroid fell not far from the Yucatan Peninsula, which is located in Mexico. As a result, the Chicxulub crater was formed, about 100 km wide. Then 75 percent of living organisms, including dinosaurs, died. At the same time, the impact force exceeded the force of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima by 21-921 billion times. As a result, all this could cause fires, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. There would also be a black dust cloud that would cover the sun for about ten years. At the same time, NASA claims that in the near future there are definitely no reasons to worry about a collision with an asteroid among the inhabitants of the Earth.