World War III Is Coming Soon—And Statistical Analysis Proves It
Sure, we're not at a 1950s Cold War level of paranoia, but it's hard to shake the feeling that something bad is looming on the horizon.
If you've felt this way lately, you are, unfortunately, entirely justified - based on the law of averages, it seems that we're getting awfully close to another World War.
This revelation comes from Aaron Clauset, a computer science assistant professor from the University of Colorado, who has used statistical analysis to attempt to predict the future of our species with a specific focus on when we're all going to start blowing each other up again.
Y'know, on a global scale—plenty of us have been engaged in smaller conflicts for decades, of course.
Clauset analyzed data from all international wars between the years of 1823 and 2003, as compiled by the Correlates of War Project, in an effort to extrapolate a clear look at the future of humanity's war efforts.
It's been 70-some years since the last major global conflict. Can this statistical model predict the next world war? Can we use math to foretell the apocalyptic end of humanity? (credit: Aaron Clauset / Correlates of War Project) @anchor https://t.co/ZrlR6NVfNx pic.twitter.com/gFwMRwJI15— Let Me Google That (@letmeglglthat) February 25, 2018
The results suggest that we're pretty much living on borrowed time. Based on the frequency of wars over the studied period, and considering the warning signs present immediately pre-war as well as the period of healing post-war, Clauset estimates that humanity won't be able to resist the appeal of another World War.
The data suggests that another war will break out at the most around 100-140 years after the end of World War II, which is somewhere between 2045 and 2085. In other words, we'll probably be alive to see this happen.
What's more concerning is that this is prediction is being generous, and there's nothing to stop a World War from occurring sooner - after all, the first two global conflicts occurred within just thirty years of each other, so there's a precedent for politicians managing to escalate these kinds of events faster than we'd all like.
As our technology has come a long way since the last time we all got together as a global community to murder each other, it's worth assuming that this potential future World War will be a completely different experience to the last one. World War II was noteworthy for being the first time that civilians almost anywhere on the globe could be hit by bombing runs, but since then, governments have been pushing to perfect military satellite technology that would allow them to kill people from space with pinpoint accuracy.
There's really no way of knowing just how messy and horrific this war could become, and as such, you're completely entitled to wear a tinfoil hat or carry a lead-lined umbrella if it eases your fears that a foreign power might be trying to melt you with a laser (just don't expect this to work as a protection strategy).
A new paper from me, on a serious topic for a change: "Trends and fluctuations in the severity of interstate wars," showing that the frequency and severity of wars has not noticeably changed over the past 200 years. Out today in @ScienceAdvances https://t.co/oCRRBhgsOR pic.twitter.com/us8qHhDjjN— Aaron Clauset (@aaronclauset) February 21, 2018
According to Clauset's data, either way, we're living on borrowed time. While the next World War might not entirely wipe out humanity (assuming that certain world leaders can avoid getting itchy nuclear trigger fingers), it looks like we're only around 383 to 11,489 years away from a cataclysmic, self-inflicted doomsday war that would kill off our entire population.
The data suggests a median date of 1,339 years in the future before humanity wipes itself out due to global war, provided we don't manage to kill ourselves off by making the planet uninhabitable first. In Clauset's own words, "the prospect of a civilization-ending conflict in the next 13 centuries is sobering".
War, huh? What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again!