Downfall of Humans?


#1

So I was reading an interesting article today on Artificial Intelligence, and I was wondering, if human civilization will end at what point, what would be the cause? Artificial Intelligence seems pretty dangerous, but I imagine that view is enhanced by all of the science fiction movies that have portrayed it.

I tried to think of as many possibilities as I could for the poll.


#2

Starvation/dearth of resources/ overpopulation leads to war leads to end of humanity

or something like that


#3


#4

None of these things would END the human race per se. So I voted asteroid. That would do a good enough job. No one in the Congo would be affected by WWIII/nuclear holocaust.


#5

I’m pretty sure they would definately be affected by a nuclear holocaust. And in a non-nuclear WWIII scenario, Africa could provide a good place to take over for conscription purposes.


#6

I guess we will find out in 2012…


#7

At first I was going to say starvation/not enough resources/overpopulation. But then I thought it’s unlikely humans would go completely extinct from that, there would just be a huge reduction in population and there would then be enough resources for the survivors.

Then I thought war, but honestly, is anyone really stupid enough to start a nuclear war? Every country must know that if you nuke another country, you’re gonna get nuked yourself.

Artificial intelligence/technology is possible I guess, but there’s a pretty simple solution for that: Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics). Of course it’s unpredictable what will happen after we reach the inevitable point where robots become smarter than humans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity), but I like to think that part of gaining higher intelligence means realizing that violence is stupid and pointless. So I doubt superintelligent robots would see any reason to destroy us.

Disease/epidemic is unlikely I think. Kind of like starvation/not enough resources/overpopulation, it could very well take a huge chunk out of the population, but probably not get rid of us entirely.

The rest are all either too vague, too far in the future to be able to form a reasonable hypothesis for, or too random/arbitrary (e.g. of course a meteor of species-destroying size could potentially hit at any time, but it hasn’t happened in millions of years, so why should we expect it to happen any time soon?)

So I guess I would have to conclude that humans will in all likelihood be around for quite a while yet. As for industrialized society as we know it? Not so certain…but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when/if we come to it.


#8

I’d survive all of those… voted evolution into a new species.


#9

Good post! Only you forgot about the lifespan and eventual death of our sun. If we haven’t found and started a colony on an inhabitable planet outside our solar system well before hand, we’re doomed.


#10

Other: http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101010625/story.html


#11

You have to look at this two different ways depending on how you interpret the question. Overpopulation/Starvation and Nuclear war may not lead to human extinction, but it would certainly be the downfall of humanity if 99.99% of us died. But if your going with downfall as complete extinction, then I would say a natural disaster like a meteor (however unlikely) would be one of the few things able to wipe out all of us.


#12

Rap music.


#13

Davy Jones producing a child will signify the end of the world via religious means. My purpose in life is to ensure this will never happen and I’ve been putting chemicals in his milk that will make him infertile every breakfast.


#14

pretty much this.

i voted meteor.


#15

I was between war and natural disaster (i.e. meteor). Voted natural disaster.

I might have voted war if it included biological warfare and such. I don’t think we could totally kill ourselves off that way by accident, but if we really tried…

I definitely don’t think we’ll make it for the couple of billion years it would take before the planet becomes uninhabitable due to solar changes.

EDIT: Should have included the optimistic “heat death of the universe” option.


#16

Who voted “religious end” so we can all laugh at you


#17

I believe in the lord almighty.
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR21Eq5hsLSQplrVjYMjSRmMjGthW-s8RCvZOh8052ZYiXvATU2

Edit: You know what, I voted religious end and I will believe that until the day I die. Laugh at me now, please.


#18

Jesus is lord.


#19

so do i, and so did i


#20

lol, when we covered thermal physics and entropy this **** had me laughing so hard.

EDIT: this line from our notes was also pretty retarded "Since N particles move randomly in 3-D, about 1/3 of them will strike the wall, that is N/3. "