How Will The World End? An Infographical Guide To Every Potential Apocalypse
The apocalypse is coming. We don't know what it will be, we don't know when it will happen, but we do know that the idea that humans will live happily ever after on Earth is looking increasingly likely. So, when should we start panicking? Will the extinction of honey bees create a global food shortage before the decade is out? Will Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking be right in thinking that the Artificial Intelligence will put an an end to human dominance on Earth? Thankfully, BBC Future have compiled an infographich which makes maps out just about every potential apocalypse and lets you know roughly when it's time to start ticking things off your bucket list.
So what are the biggest threats between now and the turn of the century? The extinction of honey bees, while terribly sad, would not be particularly likely to bring about our demise, nor is it likely that there is a nuclear war on the horizon. According to the infographic, Climate Change still has a strong shot at fouling our party, although that's not likely to happen until later on this century. Before that, the highest risks of an apocalypse come in the form of nanoweapons, similar to the ones used in Hugh Howey's brilliant 'Wool' series, and a rather terrifyingly named Combo-pocalypse, which appears to be some form of pot luck of just about any disaster you can think up.
So, if the combo-pocalypse hasn't struck and we're still around by the turn of the century, what are the catastrophes that could strike over the next million years or so? Well, those nanobots are still on the radar, and the grey goo theory suggests that these unstoppable miniatures could end up with a thirst for material so strong that they proceed to devour everything in the known universe. If that doesn't get us, which it probably won't, then a Snowpiercer-style geoengineering botch-up could. However, the disaster most likely to strike our fair planet in the next million years will be that of a catastrophic asteroid impact. Although scientists are tracking thousands of Near Earth Objects (NEOs), they are also discovering new ones every day, and the scientific community has been crying out for Government's to take action and fund research into programs that could prevent an asteroid sneaking up on us and slapping us right in the face.
Finally, if Supervolcanoes and Alien Invasions fail to get us, it appears that our demise will be certain thanks to one of a number of rather terrifying cosmic events. Gamma rays from a dying star could frazzle us, but it's more likely that the death of our Sun would get us, expanding rapidly and engulfing our entire planet in its fiery rage. Oh, and did we mention that there's a pretty high chance that the Universe could die, obliterating everything contained within it? Don't worry, though. If that happens, you'll be long dead and anyone who is alive won't know what hit 'em.
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