How will humanity face the real end? What will be the factor that finally wipes out the human race from Earth? It’s an intriguing question, one that has been the topic of discussion all over the world, especially 23rd of September.
To bring a semblance of well researched logic into this discourse, the opinions of around 50 Nobel Prize winners from all the domains (Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, Medicine and Economics) was sought. This was done during the Times Higher Education survey, where they were asked about their theories for humanity’s end.
Overpopulation coupled with Environmental degradation top the charts with over a third of this selected bunch calling it the biggest threat to our existence.
Overpopulation and Environmental degradation are positively correlated. The increase of one triggers the spread of another leading to an unsustainable environment which nurtures no one.
According to one laureate, the growing environmental decline will end up as a hindrance for food and fresh water supply for the growing population in the coming years. He suggests that science needs to address these situations and the world leaders need to create a political will to solve these disasters in making.
The second biggest threat, according to the survey, was found to be a nuclear war. Over 23% of the survey participants believed it to be the ending factor for the world. A participant from Germany blamed the populist regimes in control of nuclear weapons as a precursor to an inevitable nuclear decimation.
With 8% votes, infectious diseases came a distant third. A plotline for many blockbuster movies, a global spread of an infectious disease has a special place on the list, especially given how devastating recent worldwide health scares have been.
Drugs were also stated as a possible factor for humanity’s end. While it didn’t get as much support as the other theories, drug abuse has indeed become a disturbing trend across the world.
A surprising, and rather humorous entry to the list was Facebook. One of the laureates claimed, in very much the style of our parents, that this social media platform would be the death of us.
As dim an outlook as it is, the discussion wasn’t merely confined to the problem, but also for possible solutions.
Many voices backed the probable solution of colonizing other planets. Elon Musk, the world famous Canadian-American business magnate with a penchant for inventions that could make the world a better place has been a strong contender in this debate. The founder and CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk founded this organization with the goal to enable the colonization of Mars.
Experts reiterate these views, with one laureate calling turning humanity into a multi planet species as the ultimate insurance policy. Science has the biggest role to play in this mission.
A post-apocalyptic Earth, emptied of humans, seems like the stuff of science fiction TV and movies. But in this short, surprising talk, Lord Martin Rees asks us to think about our real existential risks — natural and human-made threats that could wipe out humanity. As a concerned member of the human race, he asks: What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?