According to a team of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists from Oxford University, who are exploring the future of humanity, there is growing evidence that our reliance on technology could cause the end of humankind.
The media is actively discussing a range of possible disasters that can destroy humanity, but the most “obvious” threats, which include asteroids, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions are unlikely to ruin the world’s population in the near future.
This is the opinion of Nick Bostrom, a philosopher and director of the University of the future of humankind, who, together with his colleagues, is trying to determine the actual causes of destruction for mankind.
In their latest publication, the experts are pointing out that people are capable of destroying themselves through their technology.
According to Bostrom, the countries are presently engaged in a real technological race, so people will have to use innovations wisely to their own advantage.
Well-known threats such as the nuclear holocaust, are amplified by even more rapidly developing and destructive technologies, including artificial intelligence and nanosystems, which can bring about both unprecedented opportunities and some potential threats.
The technology, which involves the creation of destructive nanobots seems to be much simpler than technology which would ensure effective protection against attacks by these same inventions. Therefore, there is always a possibility of unexpected vulnerability when these technologies end up in the “wrong” hands.
Still to this date, mankind is facing a threat of a nuclear holocaust. Despite recent nuclear disarmament efforts, we are still in the midst of the nuclear arms race. And this could lead to the arsenals of weapons, significantly exceeding those created during the Cold War.
There is also a probability of creating poorly programmed artificial intelligence. Sooner or later, this technology is bound to come into existence, and if scientists happen to make a mistake in calculations, the intellectual superiority of machines may allow artificial intelligence completely destroy the human race.
Another risk can stem from genetic experiments. The genetic manipulation techniques developed and used recently can allow any “evil genius” to come up with a “doomsday virus”. And dangerous viruses may undergo mutations randomly in a laboratory environment, and start spreading across the planet.
Another potential threat pointed out by environmentalists, is the destruction of ecosystems and the depletion of natural resources. Natural resources required to sustain our high-tech civilization are disappearing at a fast pace.
If something unexpected, such as a natural disaster, destroys our current technology, it will be very difficult to return to the current state of technological progress.
A straight path to self-destruction can be also hidden in the deliberate abuse of nanotechnology. Scientific discoveries may lead to the creation of self-replicating robots the size of a bacterium that can be used against humankind.
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