Apocalypse, from the Greek word “apokalyptein " which means to “uncover, disclose, reveal," has been used by many, including scientists, to predict the future demise of mankind or the planet in general. Using events from the past and by studying trends in recent years, scientists and experts are able to theorize about these apocalyptic events that could, in the future, wipe out populations or start the extinction of the human race.
There is an abundance of theories, some by famous scientists, attempting to predict how it will all end so to speak. From diseases that could wipe out populations to cosmic catastrophes that could obliterate the Earth, these apocalyptic predictions are so well analyzed and not too far-fetched that there’s a possibility that these things could happen in the next couple of years.
5. Extreme Global Pandemic
A recent study commissioned by the World Health Organization called “A World at Risk” explains that considering recent occurrences including extreme changes in weather, the world could be seeing a real threat to mankind. A deadly airborne respiratory pathogen could spread around the globe killing 50 to 80 million people. “A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability, and insecurity,” the report declares. And what’s alarming is that the study thinks the world, including first world countries, is not prepared.
The rise and spread of previously unknown viruses like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that affected more than eight thousand and claimed the lives of more than 700 people worldwide underpin the claims of this report.
And with the recent spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide that nations are scrambling to contain, many fear the possibility of the WHO reports becoming a possibility.
4. Sixth Mass Extinction Caused by Global Warming
In the past 540 years, the planet has experienced five mass extinctions. Each event was caused by a drastic change in carbon cycles in the atmosphere and the ocean. According to reports by MIT’s Daniel Rothman, Professor of geophysics in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, we are seeing an alarming parallel with events today caused by massive global warming.
The study predicts that the Earth’s ocean will be loaded with too much carbon that will, in turn, start extinction. Professor Rothman says, if current events continue unchecked oceans will soon reach its “thresholds of catastrophe” that can “lead to an unstable environment, and ultimately, mass extinction or a total wipeout of species in the planet."
At the rate the planet is going and the current levels of carbon dioxide emissions, this could well be a reality. And with no interventions, it could happen sooner than humans think.
3. Nuclear Annihilation
An all-out nuclear war could wipe out populations, experts predict. Since nuclear weapons are so powerful, it could wipe out populations. It can also cause what scientists call a “nuclear winter”. The latter could happen if multiple countries detonate their nuclear bombs launching massive amounts of dust and smoke into the atmosphere it could literally block out the sun.
While many countries have abandoned their development of nuclear weapons there are still nine powerful nations including Russia, the US, France, China, The United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea packing hundreds if not thousands of warheads. This could be a terrifying reality if we don’t keep everything in check.
2. Supervolcanic Eruptions
There are volcanoes, then there are supervolcanoes, silent beasts hiding underneath the surface that packs explosions of catastrophic proportions. Unlike the usual volcano that juts out of the surface, super volcanoes lie hidden within a sunken crater called a caldera. The volcano lying right under the Yellowstone National Park is one such example of a supervolcano.
Scientists believe that if supervolcanoes erupt it will shoot out heated gas, lava, and ash that would obliterate surrounding regions. Thick black ash that is meters deep will cover vast areas and ash clouds will cover the sun for decades. Millions of years ago a massive volcanic eruption occurred which affected the entire planet. While others speculate that supervolcanoes exploding in unison is nearly impossible since volcanoes all over the world have no single source of magma, still others believe that this could be a reality considering the shifts in climate the world is experiencing. The world is behaving erratically around us, and this may just include supervolcanoes.
1. The End of the Earth According to Stephen Hawking
World-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, best known for his study on how black holes work has released many predictions about the Earth and civilization’s future before he died. One of which is the future place AI (artificial intelligence) in the world. Hawking warned, “Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.” He believed creating thinking machines could pose a threat to our existence so much so that it could end mankind. Hawking feared that creating something that can match or overpass human intelligence is detrimental to our existence. It takes millions of years for humans to evolve whereas machines can eventually go on its own and reinvent itself rapidly.
How close are we to seeing this reality? Based on recent trends (we are seeing the rise and increased use of AI everywhere) it could be sooner than later. Many software and applications are replacing jobs previously performed by humans and according to Hawking its only a matter of time until machines surpass and outsmart us.
About the Author
Loraine Balita-Centeno is a Toronto-based writer, editor, and digital media manager who's been working for magazines, newspapers, and media sites for 15 years. Her work has been published in magazines like Cosmopolitan Magazine, Smart Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Dubai-based Illustrado Magazine, and Canadian news media site The Post Millennial among others.
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