Humanity’s Achilles heel(s): the potential existential risks we face

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Humanity’s Achilles heel(s): the potential existential risks we face

  • Author Name
    Khaleel Haji
  • Author Twitter Handle
    @TheBldBrnBar

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6 Million Years ago was when modern science believes the first human beings walked the earth. Although our ancestors began life somewhere in that time frame, modern forms of human beings have only been around for 200,000 years with the civilization of them being a mere 6,000 years ago.

Can you imagine for a moment that you were the last human on earth? It’s hard to quantify or perceive, but within the realm of possibility. The world has experienced wars, pandemics, plagues and natural disasters that have all claimed a large amount of casualties in their own right. Considering this, and expecting a repetition of these events in the future, would only be a logical assumption.

What Dangers Does Humanity Face?

Existential risks (that is, risks that threaten humanity's very thread of existence) can be quantified via scope and intensity. Scope is the amount of people potentially affected, and intensity is the severity the risk posed. Another facet of this scenario is the certainty and understanding we have of the risks. For example, whilst we know a fair bit about nuclear war and its effects, we currently have hardly breached the surface on understanding the dangerous implications of Artificial Intelligence.

As it stands, wars, super volcanoes, climate changes, global pandemics, asteroids, artificial intelligence, and global system collapses have the highest potential to wipe humanity as we know it with the top four risks, according to many experts, being global pandemics, synthetic biology disasters, nuclear wars, and artificial intelligence.

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