Recent weeks have brought another worrying news: The newest strain of the coronavirus "Omicron" revealed in South Africa, as it turned out, has already spread (albeit only as isolated cases) almost half the world. If we take into account the "super-infectiousness" called by epidemiologists as its main feature, the prospect is rather bleak. Markets and exchanges panic, expecting new total lockdowns, a decline in transportation and trade, as well as all the other "delights" of the next peak period of the pandemic.
There are also more serious fears - right up to outright "all-propanity": here it is, they say, the very "last and decisive" strain, acquaintance with which those living on planet Earth will not survive. To be honest, on the eve of the New Year, such a hysterical "wangling" in the soul is somehow not very comfortable. Again "the end of the world" ... But which one is already on the account ?! In search of an answer to this question, it is perhaps worth considering in more detail all those numerous scenarios of the disappearance of the human race from the face of the planet, of which, even recently, a great many have already spawned.
I will make a reservation right away - the review offered to your attention in no way pretends not only to the ultimate truth, but even to any serious "pseudo-scientific" research. This is just an attempt to understand how much truth there can be in phobias and nightmares tormenting humanity. Yes, and one more thing - I will clarify that we will not talk about the collapse of human civilization in the form we are accustomed to, but only about those variants of the development of events, as a result of which Homo sapiens can completely disappear as a biological species. So, let's take a look at them in order - from the most likely to the least realistic.
10. Nuclear war
Alas, this option, with all the desire, cannot be declared a "far-fetched horror movie". To date, mankind has accumulated in its arsenals about 13 thousand units of nuclear warheads. The figure is approximate, since it takes into account only the warheads in the possession of the official members of the "nuclear club". Estimates of the atomic potential of the same DPRK or, for example, Israel, for the most part, are purely speculative and vary greatly depending on the sources. In any case, if it comes to an exchange of superpowers with "full force" strikes, to which, for sure, their direct allies and then all other members of the "nuclear club" will join, our planet simply may not survive. It is the fear of such an outcome, as well as the realization of the fact that there will be no winners in the nuclear Third World War (at least at the level of states that will cease to exist) that keeps the human race from unleashing it since 1945.
On the other hand, some scientists are inclined to believe that the devastating consequences of a nuclear war are greatly exaggerated. As an argument, they cite data according to which at least 1945 thousand corresponding ammunition of various capacities has already been detonated on our planet during nuclear weapons tests from 2016 to 2.4, which together will "pull", perhaps, by several hundred megatons. And the world did not collapse ... And with the "nuclear winter", too, not everything is so simple - whether it will come or not is a moot point. So let the world, as we knew it, burn in a nuclear flame unambiguously, but humanity may well survive. I will add to this one more encouraging fact - the current number of nuclear missiles and bombs cannot be compared with what the superpowers aimed at each other during the Cold War - 70 thousand units. Perhaps the "atomic Apocalypse" still does not threaten us.
9. Global epidemic
Starting in 2020, this fateful scenario seems increasingly real. The COVID-19 pandemic has done too much damage, and indeed on a global scale. However, it must be admitted that this damage, for the most part, consists in colossal economic losses, social problems, a threatening situation for entire branches of human life. At the time of this writing, the number of victims of the disease was estimated at 5.3 million. Do not think of it as cynicism, but this is incomparable with any of the world wars, but it is quite comparable with the number of victims of road accidents during the same period of time that the pandemic lasts (about one and a half million people a year). Fortunately, medicine is advancing by leaps and bounds, and today it is difficult to imagine a "supervirus" that could mow down all of us to one person.
On the other hand, there is at least one very serious danger that lies in wait for all of us in this very plane. We are talking about the gradual loss of the ability of people to cure various infections with antibiotics. Alas, harmful microorganisms evolve faster than us and there are fears that without the development of some "superbiotics" we will again return to dark and gloomy times, when the absence of the life-saving penicillin claimed a huge number of lives. Be that as it may, but so far, fortunately, there is no supervirus on the horizon. The only thing that makes you worry is the knowledge we have taken out of the coronavirus pandemic that in the modern world the spread of any disease is happening at a really unimaginable rate and on a truly planetary scale.
8. Alien invasion
Well, what about without him? In Hollywood, what do you think are fools sitting? However, joking aside, we will have to admit that this problem worries not only the creators of the "dream factory", but also the leadership of the Pentagon, as well as other, no less serious organizations. So, for example, the director of US National Intelligence Avril Haynes, during a recent speech at the forum "Our Future in Space", officially stated that in just one decade - from 2004 to 2014, the Americans recorded about one and a half hundred (144) "unidentified air phenomena ", in her opinion," posing a threat to national security. " Haines' department in all seriousness intend to create a special unit, whose task will be to collect information about "flying saucers" and their possible "passengers". So much for Hollywood ... On the other hand, if all these "little green little men" (or maybe not small, not green and not little men at all?) Are so persistently flitting around, making no attempts to "conquer" us , and even to come into contact with the owners of the planet, then there is nothing to worry about?
Well, they fly to themselves and fly ... And it is not at all a fact that all these "phenomena" have really aliens as their explanation. In the end, the existence of such is equally not proven by anyone, and not completely refuted. In addition, it is not at all necessary that, upon arriving on Earth, guests from Space will immediately begin to wipe Homo sapiens from its face in full. For the most part, such theories are based ... on, let's say, not the most worthy precedents in human history - like the conquest of America. Well, ascribing our sins and vices to others is something we can perfectly do. And who said that the earthlings would not be able to cope with such a threat, especially by uniting on such an occasion? To me, too, "plates" ... The "Promethea" themselves will have, but it will be necessary - and something more serious. In a word, with all the frequency of repetition of the scenario of the death of humanity from the hands, paws or tentacles of aliens, it really does not look plausible.
7. Global warming
Yes, yes - a little less likely than the brutal invasion of the "little green". No one argues that the average temperature on the planet is steadily increasing, but is this a reason for the whole world to sew shrouds and prepare a feast for the human race? More likely no than yes. It is worth getting off the beaten track by the adherents of the "green revolution" and the struggle for decarbonization of the "main line" and instantly you come across a real breakthrough of completely alternative points of view. For example, those whose authors are confident that our planet is just now ... in the so-called "cold period"! And even a warming of some 5, or even all 7 degrees will not return it to the indicators that were normal for the Earth over millions of years of its history. And no one became extinct - except perhaps the dinosaurs. At the same time, it is not at all necessary that they were sent into oblivion by the heat - rather, given the cold-bloodedness of these creatures, it was exactly the opposite. In short, many scientists believe that "global warming", which scares us so much, may even benefit mankind.
Yes, it is possible that as a result of the melting of the Arctic ice, some coastal areas (up to 20 million square kilometers) of land will be flooded. However, in return, we will receive at least 25 million square kilometers of frozen space today, which will become suitable for life and agriculture. And flooding, according to some estimates, it is quite possible to reduce several times and orders of magnitude by the construction of dams. The same, incidentally, applies to the "greenhouse effect". Many people are talking about its harm today, but how many people have heard of the theory of "greenhouse gardening", according to which an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere will contribute to the transformation of deserts and arid zones of our planet into blossoming gardens? No, warming as such is unlikely to bring humanity to the grave.
6. All-planetary natural cataclysm
Climate changes quite often try to "lump together" with the possible catastrophic consequences of various natural disasters, or even pass them off as the only reasons for them. What are we talking about? About large-scale forest fires, hurricanes, tsunamis and the like. In fact, only a unique combination of natural disasters of unprecedented proportions, the effect of which will add up and cause more and more negative consequences, can pose a real danger to all living on Earth. The most formidable "hidden enemy" in this aspect are volcanoes. Well, how are they going to spew lava at the same time? Then, really, nothing good awaits us. Generally speaking, there are about two dozen real supervolcanoes - huge cavities of the earth's crust, in which a deadly amount of hot magma splashes. The most famous, of course, is the American Yellowstone. Yes, we were lucky - this "time bomb" is not on our territory. On the other hand, if it nevertheless explodes, it will not seem a little to anyone. Some scientists are inclined to believe that only with the eruption of Yellowstone alone, there will be more combustion products and volcanic ash in the atmosphere than in a nuclear war.
The result may not be a "nuclear", but a "volcanic" winter, which will inevitably lead to crop failures and famine that will affect entire regions - and quite large ones. At the very epicenter of the eruption there will be a branch of the underworld on Earth - everything there will simply burn to the ground or be buried under layers of the same ash tens, or even hundreds of meters. So this is one Yellowstone ... And if we are so unlucky that two or, God forbid, more of the same volcanoes erupt at the same time? There are more than 20 of them, as already mentioned! In this case, one can reassure oneself only by the fact that from the point of view of the theory of probability, such a "bad thing" will be something completely unimaginable. Volcanoes - "monsters" erupt every 50-100 thousand years, the most frequent. And modern seismography will help predict an impending catastrophe and, if not prevent it, then at least prepare for it.
5. Strike from space
No, this is not a return to the discussion of the issue of the likelihood of an "invasion from Alpha Centauri" - we seem to have sorted it out with it. The trouble is that the Earth is periodically attacked by aliens who have no reason and superhigh of technologies, but from this no less dangerous. Speech, of course, about meteorites and asteroids, the collision of which with our planet in ancient times caused on it, according to scientists, global cataclysms, quite comparable to the consequences of a general nuclear war. For example, a "tiny" asteroid with a diameter of "only" a kilometer with a small one, which fell on the heads of the ancestors of today's people who were already wandering around the earth's expanses 790 thousand years ago, produced an explosion with a capacity of a million megatons. Imagine, this is 150 times the capacity of all current nuclear arsenals, no matter how many there are. But the history of the Earth has known collisions with celestial bodies of much larger sizes.
For example, paleontologists are sure that it was the Chicxulub asteroid, 10 kilometers in diameter, that fell on the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago, and just ended the era of dinosaur domination on Earth. Died out, sick, unable to endure processes like two drops of water similar to "nuclear winter", cold and lack of food. But even this blow was not the strongest - it left a crater 180 kilometers in diameter, but in Canada, South Africa, India there are similar craters with a diameter of 250-300 kilometers. Will humanity survive such a "meeting" if it happens today? Doubtful. True, optimism is generated by the fact that even kilometer-long “guests” arrive on our planet about once every million years. And even more impressive ... Yes, and modern technologies (including in the military field) are unlikely to allow such "happiness" to fall on us, as they say, in one piece.
4. Rise of intelligent machines
The fears that the artificial intelligence created by people unfortunately will one day reach such a level of development that it decides to clear the Earth of its own creators owes its wide popularity to the talent of the creators of the Terminator movie saga. However, if you adhere to the truth, the hypothesis of the "rebellion of the machines" and "rebellion of computers" were circulating long before the appearance of this film - he simply promoted them to the widest possible masses. Indeed, AI technologies have evolved in recent decades as rapidly and explosively as, perhaps, no others. And yet - there are hardly any real grounds for alarm. Today, the concept of "artificial intelligence", applied to various computer systems, is, let's be frank, a huge exaggeration, nothing more than a figure of speech. Provocative conversations of figures like Elon Musk - PR and self-promotion, nothing more.
At present, there is not a single machine on Earth that possesses something even approximately equal to human consciousness and intelligence, the secrets of which the person himself cannot yet comprehend. All computers, down to the most complex ones, operate within the framework of certain algorithms, prescribed by them and introduced from outside programs. To the creation of true intelligence - capable of thinking independently, we, according to the estimates of real experts in this field, have not even come close. Maybe it's for the best. Be that as it may, but in many international organizations, right up to the UN, quite sane voices are already being heard of those who call for introducing a rather rigid framework for the development of AI, and especially for its use for military purposes. Autonomous and, in particular, self-learning combat robots, of course, will not become the gravediggers of mankind, but they will be able to thin it out in mass production and use quite thoroughly.
3. Unsuccessful scientific experiment
Starting from this point, we already enter the area of completely, practically, speculative hypotheses. Modern science, which has entered such spheres as higher quantum physics, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, which frighten uninitiated people with its names alone, raises quite understandable fears: “Will these clever men create something in their laboratories that will kill all of us? overnight and with a 19% guarantee? " For example, it is still not clear whether the fears that agitated the people on the eve of the launch of the Large Hadron Collider were that with its help a miniature "black hole" could be created, into which the whole world would safely fall, a bad conspiracy born of ignorance - or is it at least to some extent justified experiences? Add to this the persistently plying theories about the artificial origin of AIDS, the same COVID-XNUMX and their malicious "introduction" into our world - and we get an approximate picture of humanity's perception of the "reverse side" of scientific progress.
Calling such theories of the disappearance of the human race completely delusional, perhaps, is impossible. In the end, the Curies, conducting experiments with uranium salts, did not think about nuclear bombs. For some discoveries, fate is very whimsical and capable of terrifying the authors - this is true. It is also true that some representatives of the scientific world in pursuit of "pure knowledge" are capable of going on very, very dubious experiments with extremely dangerous potential consequences. And even more so when conducting research commissioned by the same military-industrial corporations. On the other hand, their abilities and the level of development of modern science are still not enough even to create storage batteries of the capacity that will allow electric vehicles to finally oust cars with an internal combustion engine from our life. So to be afraid that scientists will be able to repeat the "Big Bang" in laboratory conditions, which will destroy our universe and create a new one, is hardly worth it.
2. The emergence of "supermen"
This hypothesis directly stems from the previous one. No, some people think that one should be afraid of an "evolutionary leap" that will occur as a result of, say, some "cosmic rays" (or the same virus). But it sounds really shitty. But the results of the experiments of scientists who have passed from genetics to pure eugenics, trying to "improve the human breed" and create individuals with pre-programmed abilities and characteristics may well give just such an effect. Such creatures, of course, will not be humans in the normal sense of the word. And who said that they, possessing these or those "superpowers", would agree to obediently fulfill the "wishes" of their creators or their customers from the army, special services, governments, and not rebuild the world according to their own understanding, having previously rid it of the presence of Homo sapiens? Theoretically, something like that can be imagined, but no more.
Fortunately, scientists have not yet reached the level of breeding "X-Men" or Supermen. Let's hope with all our hearts that they won't. Another question is that the "games of God", which representatives of some branches of science have already come close to, can really end badly. Humanity is unlikely to be able to breed a foolish superhuman capable of destroying it with lightning from the eyes or by the power of telekinesis, but to produce dangerous genetic mutations, the problems with which will then have to be disentangled for a very long time is quite.
1. Zombie apocalypse
This scenario of total destruction of the human race is probably the least realistic - despite its immense popularity among directors, writers and creators of computer games. To our great happiness, not a single virus that can turn a person into a walking dead man hungry for someone else's flesh has not been recorded by scientists. And even nothing remotely similar to him. Nevertheless, CONOP 2009, created in 2010-8888 by the Strategic Command of the US Army, is widely known - a detailed plan to "protect humanity from zombies", survive in a zombie apocalypse and achieve victory over hordes of living corpses. The publication of this document in 2014 in the American media had an amazing effect. Pentagon officials (who did not even bother to classify this plan properly) subsequently claimed that it was being developed as "knowingly unreal", and zombies appeared in it "as a euphemism" replacing some "anti-government forces."
Nevertheless, a few later the military admitted that CONOP 8888 should not be considered a joke in its pure form. Although the zombie threat does not really exist, it may well arise in the future. The seriousness of such allegations is confirmed by the fact that, for example, the "navy seals" and some other special forces of the Pentagon diligently practiced methods of dealing with walking corpses in 2012 and later. According to some reports, they are working out to this day. Well what can you say? They also seem to be preparing to resist the "Russian invasion of Ukraine". Americans - what do you get from them?
On this we, perhaps, conclude our "Apocalypse Review". Indeed, one should not be discouraged. According to the latest reports from medical laboratories and research centers, the same Omicron strain may be the killer not of humanity, but of a pandemic that has become sick of everyone. Today, there are assumptions that, at very high rates of spread and low mortality, as well as a relatively mild course of the disease, it is finally capable of creating herd immunity, and subsequently completely reducing the coronavirus to the level of seasonal flu. Let's hope for the best!