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Academic: 10% chance humans will be extinct in the next 100 years

The Culture

I have not been blessed with a refined taste in cinema, with my favourite movie franchise being the Terminator series, especially the second and third, in which Arnie is in peak form. Alas, there’s not enough space here to reminisce, so let’s confine ourselves to the premise for the action.  

On August 29, 1997, Skynet, an artificial intelligence system created by the US Defense Department, became self-conscious. Its programmers panicked and tried to deactivate it. Skynet defended itself by provoking a nuclear exchange in which three billion people died and the rest were enslaved or hunted down. Until John Connor organised the Resist…

Sorry, we must stop here as I’ve promised to talk about ethics.

Surprisingly, a minor academic industry exists whose goal is to solve the conundrums which might arise if (or when) Skynet or one of its buddies takes over the world. And this is just one of many apocalyptic scenarios which are on the table. The Global Priorities Project and the Future of Humanity Institute, both based at Oxford University, recently produced a Global Catastrophic Risk 2016 report which discusses some of the most likely ones.  

It’s less gripping than the Left Behind novels about the Second Coming (with titles like The Rapture: In the Twinkling of an Eye/Countdown to the Earth’s Last Days), but, in its own dry, detached way, no less scary.

This article continues at [Mercatornet] The end is nigh!

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