There’s been plenty of talk about the possibility that World War 3 is on the horizon as the West’s tension with Russia continues to increase. But just how likely are we to kill ourselves off? Pretty likely. It seems only a matter of time before it happens—and the only question for some is the method humanity will use to wipe itself out.
Michael Hanlon of The Telegraph (via the National Post) offers a list of ways the human race could force itself into extinction.
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World War 3 a possibility?
A couple of the suggestions he lists offer some insight into how World War 3 could potentially play out. For example, a genetically created plague could come about as a result of bio-warfare. Bio-weapons are a big concern because scientists could theoretically take a deadly virus like Ebola and create a version that’s airborne, making it much easier for the disease to spread and wipe out whole cities in just days or even an entire country in a matter of weeks or months.
Nuclear war is perhaps the most likely item on the whole list in relation to what’s happening in the world now. Russia keeps feeling it necessary to demonstrate its nuclear power through a series of tests. Moscow continues to point fingers at Washington and the rest of the West as rumblings about a possible World War 3 breaking out continue to heat up.
Currently nine countries have nuclear weapons, and others want to get in on them as well. According to Hanlon, a war between NATO and Russia probably wouldn’t kill off the entire planet, but it could “kill billions and wreck the world economy for a century.”
Other possibilities for the end of the world
Of course it’s also possible an outside force will be responsible for the extermination of life on Planet Earth. An asteroid strike that’s as serious as the one scientists believe killed off the dinosaurs would be catastrophic to put an end to humanity. According to Hanlon, scientists think there’s a remote possibility of this happening in our lifetime but that it’s very likely that our planet will be hit at some point.
A Terminator-like scenario is also possible, according to some, as we work to make computers smarter and more like us. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk suggested a while back that artificial intelligence could one day be a threat to humans. Experts say computing power doubles every 18 months, although critics say the best computers are “currently no brighter than cockroaches,” writes Hanlon. At issue is whether computers will have any desires or want to do anything one day.
And then there’s the issue of climate change, which most scientists agree is just a matter of time before it gets away from us. Human behaviors are wrecking the planet by raising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and there’s only so much our bodies can take before it’s lights out for us.