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Number 8 Asteroid Impact
Asteroid impacts have gotten so much of the “Hollywood treatment” that it’s becoming harder to perceive them as legitimate. That being said they’re always within the realm of possibility. For example, there are thousands of ice-balls, more than 50 miles in diameter, in the Kuiper Belt. This zone lies just beyond Neptune and has sent a stream of smaller comets towards our planet. Many would perish in the blast alone.
Number 7 Rise of AI
Another favorite among science fiction scenarios is the end of the world due to the rise of artificial intelligence. There are a number of researchers that argue we’re only a few decades from the singularity, the point when AI matches or even surpasses human intelligence. Even technology entrepreneur Elon Musk has expressed concern in this regard. Nevertheless, since most of our systems are technology-dependent, an AI takeover could be worrisome. One common theory is that it will become “too good at its job” and harm humans as it seeks out ultimate efficiency.
Number 6 Gamma-Ray Burst
Gamma-Ray bursts, or GBRs, are thought to be released during a massive supernova or the merger of two collapsed neutron stars. They’re the brightest electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe and may last from 10 milliseconds to several hours. In just a few seconds more energy is released than the Sun will give out in its entire lifespan. Gamma-Ray Bursts typically occur billions of light years away from Earth. However, there’s a GBR candidate just 8,000 light years away, known as a Wolf-Rayet star. It’s expected to collapse into a supernova at some point in the next several hundred thousand years.
Number 5 Global Warming
We’ve touched upon the effects of global warming in previous videos. Despite a number of climate change deniers, the science community has deemed the evidence behind it to be irrefutable. Moreover, it seems that human activity has been a major driving factor since the 20th century. Future devastating events include severe droughts, increased frequency of extreme weather, the extinction of many plant and animal species as well as rising sea levels which may cause low-lying areas to become submerged.
It’s not far-fetched to imagine that a super-virus could one day wipe out the human race. Viruses and bacteria evolve alongside humans and some species have already become resistant to antibiotics. What’s even scarier is that we might actually end up helping a super-virus burn through the population. Through vaccination we provide training to our immune system on how to recognize and eliminate pathogens.
Number 2 Volcanism
Past trends suggest we’re long overdue for a supervolcanic eruption. The last one occurred in New Zealand, roughly 26,000 years ago.
Number 1 Megatsunami
More than 65 million years ago, a giant asteroid impacted the Gulf of Mexico, triggering events that led to the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. The Chicxulub asteroid was roughly 9-miles across and caused all matter of destruction, not the least of which was an enormous tsunami. After the initial impact, a wave almost 1 mile high swept through the Gulf of Mexico travelling close to 100 miles per hour.