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How will humans become extinct ?


Posted on Wednesday, 24 April, 2013 | Comment icon 67 comments


Image credit: Felix Andrews

 
If we were to become extinct in the forseeable future, how exactly would such an event come about ?

An international team of scientists and philosophers have met at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute in an effort to determine the answer to this very question. Already ruled out as likely candidates are natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes as well as disease, famine and environmental disaster on the basis that throughout history humanity has already weathered several such events.

Instead, it is perhaps our own scientific progression that is most likely to lead to our ultimate demise. While medical applications for genetic engineering, nanotechnology and other advances could see great benefits to overall health and life expectancy, if something goes wrong then we could find ourselves being wiped out by our own creations - a scenario not entirely dissimilar to what we see in numerous zombie apocalypse movies.

"What are the greatest global threats to humanity? Are we on the verge of our own unexpected extinction? An international team of scientists, mathematicians and philosophers at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute is investigating the biggest dangers."

  View: Full article |  Source: BBC News

  Discuss: View comments (67)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #58 Posted by MysticStrummer on 19 May, 2013, 20:29
A large enough impact wouldn't need any after effects to wipe us out, obviously. Here's a fun video showing a CG impact that simulates a much larger asteroid.
Comment icon #59 Posted by MysticStrummer on 19 May, 2013, 22:00
That video is a little over 7 minutes long, but for some reason starts over at the point where the asteroid is just about to impact and runs for another couple of minutes. Anyway, I'd say something like that or extreme climate change would be the only ways humans would become extinct. A microbe, natural or man made, wouldn't necessarily reach all humans. When the sun dies, well the whole planet will go with it, but hopefully we'll be killing each other on other planets by then.
Comment icon #60 Posted by Roiberto on 20 May, 2013, 0:14
An estimated 99% of all species that have existed have become extinct
Comment icon #61 Posted by lightly on 20 May, 2013, 0:38
99% ? yikes! but we are the only species that can think about that fact .. hopefully , that might help.
Comment icon #62 Posted by Sakari on 20 May, 2013, 0:42
Or are we?
Comment icon #63 Posted by Doug1o29 on 22 May, 2013, 17:56
If "we" evolved into something else, would it matter if the old "we" became extinct? Suppose "we" could transfer our intelligence into a machine? Would "we" become extinct if that intelligence survived? Doug
Comment icon #64 Posted by Frank Merton on 22 May, 2013, 18:03
Yea that statistic about all the extinct species ignores the fact that most of them disappeared because they evolved.
Comment icon #65 Posted by third_eye on 22 May, 2013, 18:22
maybe humans knows more about what the priorities are to evade extinction .....
Comment icon #66 Posted by Hilander on 24 May, 2013, 18:04
If there was only two left humans would not survive, not enough gene diversity.
Comment icon #67 Posted by Hilander on 24 May, 2013, 18:09
I just read that 99.9% of all species that have lived are now extinct. Doesn't give much hope for us beating the odds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction


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