5 great threats that could destroy humanity over several years

Foundation for Global Challenges, together with the Research Institute Global Priorites Project-functioning with the British Oxford University published an annual report describing the risk that in a short period are able to completely destroy humanity.

This kind of ranking risks, that is to show the world what we need to focus on in order to survive. Scientists agree that the list of big five can very easily come about. Same Stewen Hawking insisted in interviews that soon will come to us to face with disastrous results of climate change, nuclear war or deadly viruses-all this can be done over the next five years. To this, though in a bit further ahead, even about such possibilities, as the outbreak of super-volcano on earth or in the planet of the asteroid. The authors of the report have chosen those situations, which scientists give the highest chance over the next few years.

A natural pandemic

It is one of the most realistic threats that can meet humanity. History shows that malicious viruses are able to decimate the world population. In the 1918-1919 Spanish influenza pandemic murder from 50 to 100 million around the world. That’s more than all the victims of World War I. A total of 500 million people became sick, which then accounted for 1/3 the population of the world’s population. However, not only influenza collected and still collecting his harvest-remember the great pox outbreaks, and today about HIV virus that has taken the lives of many millions of people. However, this flu just remains at the forefront of threats to humanity.

Photo: https://jonbarron.org

The marked as H5N1 is very unpredictable and easily mutates. In the event of an outbreak of a global pandemic, the researchers calculated that dies even 1.7 billion. Globalization, the ease and the speed at which we move the world, close contacts with animals-all of this makes the virus can spread around the world with lightning speed. The researchers point out also that the global pandemic does not necessarily happen in a natural way. Different needs political, civil and military biological research, as well as terrorism can make that mankind will perish as a result of accidental human error or deliberate actions that effect no one predicted. Produced in laboratory virus can easily and collected the antidote becomes the useless.

Nuclear war

It may seem that the days of the cold war we have already long behind you, and the nuclear arms race and for all passed into history. It is true that the world nuclear conflict it never happened, but the United States attack on Japan showed how terrible the effects involves use of nuclear weapons.

In 2014 on the world we had 9920 nuclear warheads ready for immediate use.

In the event of all-out war-during the cold war, estimated that within the first 30 days to die from 35 up to 77% of the US population and 20 to 40% of the population of the former Soviet Union. Millions were to die over the next months and years as a result of radiation sickness. Today, this risk is smaller, because arsenal is reduced to 65000 out in those years.

EHC0JJ Danger of nuclear war illustration with multiple explosions. Photo: metrouk2

Much greater threat is the so-called nuclear winter. The amount of dust that build up in the atmosphere will cut-off humanity from light and solar heat for many years to come. To that, as a result of the powerful electromagnetic pulses, destroyed the entire infrastructure, and we will be deprived of the power supply. It means the collapse of agriculture and the lack of food, and want to only half of the accumulated in the world nuclear missiles. For total war still still us far and much more likely are local conflicts. The researchers calculated that the conflict between India and Pakistan, where there would be to detonate only 15 bombs would cause such dust that global temperature would cut to about 1.25 degree Celsius.

According to some studies only as a result of this incident would destroyed many agricultural crops around the world, and at risk of hunger would have been more than one billion people.

The researchers point out that the current geopolitical situation significantly increases the risk of use of nuclear weapons. The aggressive attitude of Russia, a conflict with Ukraine, the involvement of the military in many conflicted parts of the world, but above all, the relationship between India and Pakistan can call the nuclear conflict.

Global climate change

Here the main culprit is greenhouse gases. As far as Europe tries to reduce their emissions in all possible ways-often painfully feel in their wallets-as economic powers such as China, Russia or the US are doing in this direction much less or almost nothing. Warming leads to melt the south polar ice at the poles and raise water levels. The melting of the glaciers will release into the atmosphere huge amounts of methane. Another effect of global warming the climate is violent, destructive even weather phenomena, which so far have occurred rarely and in some parts of the world there at all.

Photo: nytimes

All this may negatively reflect primarily on agriculture, which means hunger for the vast part of the world’s population. Added to this is the reduction of biodiversity-will die out many species of plants and animals, which help regulate the ecosystem or are a source of valuable substances. Global warming will also cause, that many places on Earth will become the tropical zones. Therefore, start wars and conflicts about access to drinking water and farmland.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

The threat from the development of artificial intelligence spoke the most prominent scientists from around the world, led by Steven Hawkins. The authors of the report refer to the speech of Professor Stuart Russell of the University of Berkeley, Peter Norviga, Director of the Center for research on Google, and Nick Bostroma, the author of the “empathetic super-intelligence.”

Photo: economist.com

They all signed up to under the document to warn people against the risk of the development of AI. In the coming years, humanity will be able to create a machine whose intelligence exceeds the man. Today we focus on this field, first steps, when AI no problem deal with very complicated logical game beating them the greatest masters. This means that pretty soon people may be replaced by a machine, which will have a disastrous impact on the economic and social relationships.

The problem lies in the corporations bent on profit. They can skip the aspect of humanity in the artificial intelligence and use it in a way that will drop the human factor, as completely redundant. For this not to be missed aspect of the AI used in the army, and that in cyber-hands hold a weapons.

Extreme engineering

What gives us a chance to develop and pushes our civilization forward, may be one of the biggest of our enemies. The authors of the reports mention here. biotechnology, which can allow you to create such a pathogen (virus, bacteria), from which the modern medical knowledge will not be able to cope. Today a lot of data about the detailed construction of the viruses is available at your fingertips.

Photo: wikimedia

The researchers point out that the return of smallpox as a weapon may be a matter of just a few years. Cite here the reports, according to which the flu virus H1N1, is a result of the work of the laboratory, who accidentally spill out into the environment. This easy today to change what nature intended-currently the more virulent pathogen, the more difficult it is to move. The most developed countries of the world are increasingly have geo-engineering techniques to change the climate. In the example the dam of the three Gorges, where the vastness of Earth’s only axis cocked his unintentional accident which did not have to change the local climate. However, there are technologies that already today can change it.

You can spray in the stratosphere special substances that will reflect sunlight and lower the temperature to overcome the same greenhouse effect. You can also change the composition of the local atmosphere and remove carbon dioxide, as much as possible is to fertilise the oceans such as to reduce CO2 emissions.

Some of the sounds are available only for the rich. There is a much risk that the improvement of conditions in one area of the world, reflect very negatively on other regions. Add even natural substances to seas and oceans in a rapid pace can unsettle the entire ecosystem of the planet and lead to catastrophic changes. What’s more, all these actions mask only for the greenhouse effect, but it does not cut what in a short period of time can lead to changes in catastrophic changes.

The asteroid, solar storm and volcano

Researchers selecting risks to this statement followed the highest chance of their occurrence. But don’t forget about some of the other events that can dramatically reverse the fortunes of our planet and ourselves. Their probability of occurrence is relatively low – at least according to the knowledge possessed at the time of the report, which does not mean that it cannot happen contrary to scientific knowledge. You must therefore reckon with being hit by asteroids. The effects can be similar to a gigantic nuclear explosion.


Our enemy can also present the star by which we live-the Sun. Solar storms often contributed to serious crashes on Earth. Electromagnetic pulse, which reached the planet in the year 1989 to 9 hours deprived of electricity 6 million people in Canada. In 2011 as a result of the solar storm of failure has cooling system in nuclear power plant 2 in the US. Scientists as they believe that if the present there has been such a solar storm, which took place in the year 1859, the modern world would stop to exist. At the time, suffered only a telegraph network, and the effect of the storm on the Sun auroras were seen all over the world even in the Caribbean.

If such a phenomenon occurred today, it made us lose all satellites, power grids, and most electronic and electrical devices, she would have refused to obey. The lack of communication, electricity, running water, no working computers, no Internet, the collapse of banking systems and stock exchanges, the destroyed nuclear all this would lead to global chaos, and as a result, riots and wars. Humanity itself fighting for access to basic goods, that today we get thanks to pervasive electronics. The world of well as hunger and so we could not produce fertilizers, or we would not have the right equipment to land, and then to its processing.

Dangers lurk not only in space, but right under our feet. The volcano in Yellowstone Park could in the case of a powerful eruption destroy humanity in a few years, the number of dust and gases released into the atmosphere would be so large that it with the effect of a nuclear winter.

To 80% of the territory of North America would be covered with a layer of hot ashes. Fortunately, scientists calculated that the volcano should erupt with such force once 700 thousand years and another eruption will not happen in our lifetime. Please note, however that even a smaller eruptions and a much smaller volcanoes have a stigma on our lives. The eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 on many days has paralyzed air traffic across Europe. Losses amounted to 200 million dollars a day.