10 People Who Could End The World

10 People Who Could End The World 10 Larry Page So

this whole Google thing has gotten pretty big I know right, who thought it’d catch on? As a result, the actions of its head honcho, or rather its parent company Alphabet’s head honcho, could have major impacts on the world There are a lot of ways Larry Page and Alphabet have made their mark, but for now, let’s look at Deepmind: the company’s flagship Artificial Intelligence software that you probably know best for Alphago, which taught itself to defeat a world champion Go player in 2015

More recently in 2017, Deepmind engineers devised an exercise where two iterations of the AI were pitted against each other in a virtual apple gathering game Less advanced versions would collect the apples fairly evenly then co-exist peacefully But more advanced versions learned that attacking, subduing and sabotaging each other would ultimately gain THEM more apples While there are probably some lessons you could take about human nature there, there’s also a serious risk if these traits are allowed to flourish It could lead to some quite dangerous outcomes if Page and co keep pushing for artificial intelligence became a presence in human life

Robots showing aggression has never tended to end particularly well Skynet anyone? 9 Biohackers Technology is progressing at an unprecedented speed in the current day and age, becoming more accessible than ever before That’s often acknowledged when it comes to stuff like finance and 3D Printers But one phenomenon you don’t hear quite so much about is biohacking

Around the world, there’s an increasing movement of ordinary people making use of DIY biotech, even in their own garages like it’s brewing your own horrible beer Sometimes it’s fairly innocuous stuff like body implants, but it’s even making use of cutting edge techniques like CRISPR gene editing There have already been examples of biohacks going wrong, like the case of Josiah Zayner injected himself with a bunch of fiddled-with DNA on a livestream to make himself more muscular It did not work Even more seriously, Tristan Roberts, an HIV positive biohacker, used an untested gene therapy treatment on himself

That treatment actually INCREASED his viral load But much worse than a botched treatment is a DIY disease Researchers at the University of Alberta have already shown that it’s possible to recreate extinct Smallpox strains from mail-order DNA So there’s every possibility that a biohacker, either by accident or with mal-intent, could unleash a serious threat to humanity 8

Nuclear Delegates Traditionally, we think of the people with their “finger on the button” as singular heads of state with the lonely burden over nuclear annihilation, or perhaps megalomaniacal movie villains with no regard for human life But the truth is actually very far from either In a way, it’s actually scarier In fact, there are literally THOUSANDS of people who have the ability to fire nuclear weapons delegated to them Generally, these are nameless functionaries in the militaries of nuclear nations, so we won’t name them in their entirety here

But regardless there are chains of people with the technical capability to fire nukes – right up to the heads of state who hold the ultimate authority But if you think about it, that HAS to be the case Otherwise, one well-timed assassination could completely eliminate any chance of nuclear retaliation For example, let’s say something devastating happened to Moscow, and the Kremlin was unable to launch a nuclear counteroffensive Due to the “dead hand” system, missiles could still be launched from the Ural Mountains with ease

OR to prove my point in a kind of reverse way, it was only because a Russian nuclear submarine commander had the ability but REFUSED to launch a nuke that the Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t escalate into a full-blown nuclear war 7 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Right now, one of the most pressing threats global security is the prospect of growing instability in the middle east While there are quite a few players that make the whole thing so precarious, Iran is certainly one of the most concerning For decades, evidence suggests the country has sought to develop nuclear weapons

So naturally, preventing that from happening has been a priority for the international community, which is why the steps taken to end of the Obama-era nuclear deal in recent years have been so controversial But why exactly is this so dangerous? Y’know, beyond the obvious Well, Iran is notorious for its inflammatory comments, particularly in regards to the US and Israel As recently as May this year, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told supporters that the youth would see the “demise of Israel” And while I should add that follow-through is pretty unlikely, especially nuclear, real consideration needs to be given to what Iran could do

Say a nuclear attack did happen, whether by the Iranian state or a terrorist group by proxy That would likely drag in the US and NATO, in turn, Russia, and uh… you can probably see where this is going Should that happen, I can only hope you’ve been practicing that wasteland life on Fallout 6 Epidemiologists Part of protecting the world against potentially lethal epidemics is testing the limits of what dangerous pathogens can do

Because of that, it’s not uncommon for ‘super viruses’ to be developed with the express purpose of studying their biology However, that of course comes with the risk of transmission outside of the lab and into the wider world A nightmare scenario, but guess what? It’s happened PLENTY of times before For example, there was a swine flu outbreak in 1977 whose genetic makeup suggested that it most likely came from a 1950s strain tested in a laboratory More recently, lab workers became infected with Sars in 2003 and Ebola in 2004

In fact, it’s common enough that the journal PLoS estimates a 20% chance of a worker contracting a superflu and transmitting it to the outside world over the next decade Given the historical precedent of the 1918 flu pandemic, it’s possible that tens of millions of people could die from an outbreak Perhaps a lot more, maybe even on an apocalyptic scale, if something worse than flu escapes 5 Nanotech pioneers A defining feature of the modern day is the frankly absurd rate at which technology is progressing, which can turn into a pandora’s box pretty quickly

One of the biggest unknowns in that pandora’s box is nanotechnology That term refers to devices with dimensions less than 100 NANOMETERS, or a 10 millionth of a meter, which companies around the world are racing to pioneer Right now, very little is understood about how robots so small that they could pass through our bloodstream would act if they actually, y’know… passed through our bloodstream That said, studies have suggested that carbon nanotubes, one of the most common types of nanotechnology, could cause similar or even worse lung damage than asbestos That’s probably not world-ending on its own, but there is the matter of so-called “gray goo”

First theorized by John Von Neumann all the way back in 1948, this is the idea that a self-replicating nano-machine could be made for a good purpose, like to clear up oil spills, but eventually devour all life on earth out of a glitch in its programming, consuming LITERALLY everything Despite being kind of out there, it’s a risk worth considering Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems, argues that nanotech has far more destructive uses than constructive ones, even to the point that someone so-inclined could make a genetically targeted weapon – AKA genocide 4 Lobbyists Speaking of cheery subjects: climate change – the evidence for which is pretty overwhelming at this point

In fact, as of 2019, the scientific consensus for its existence has surpassed NINETYNINE percent Not only that, but the evidence suggests that it’ll destabilize and maybe even end the world as we know it in the next century So the obvious question is “why aren’t we solving this, like, y’know… right now???” Well the answer there, apart from apathy in the general public, is that the steps which need to be taken to curtail climate change are generally pretty bad for business Y’know, new production processes, expensive sustainable materials and generally just selling less unnecessary crap As such, it’s pretty common to see lobbyists pushing Washington lawmakers away from climate-friendly policies

For example in 2009, the Chamber Of Commerce told Congress that a 3 degree global temperature increase would be BENEFICIAL to humans it wouldn’t And in 2017, the National Union of Manufacturers convinced President Trump to begin leaving the Paris Climate deal All in all, lobbying efforts against climate change action top $200 million per year Not sure if the return on investment there outweighs the apocalypse though 3

Donald Trump Now hold on a second before you start scrolling down to the comments This isn’t a leftie liberal pot-shot at the president, I promise If anything, this is just really obvious I’m just saying that as the president of the United States, the guy is really, REALLY, powerful Just like Obama or Reagan or Nixon, who famously said: “I can go into my office and pick up the telephone and in 25 minutes, 70 million people will be dead

” Weird flex, but ok The fact of the matter is that the US president commands the world’s largest military, and despite congress being needed to formally declare war, the POTUS CAN still launch military attacks unilaterally In light of recent tensions with Iran, that’s become a source of consternation in Washington, with representatives arguing over whether Trump should be allowed to risk a conflict that could dwarf the Iraq war

And of course, the president has the ultimate authority to launch nuclear weapons – if that’s not world-ending power, I don’t know what is 2 Vladimir Putin Of course, it takes two to tango, or I suppose in this case, it takes a duo to decimate So in time-honored fashion, the most likely counterpart to the US president in the world-ending event is probably going to be Vladimir Putin As home to the second-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, Russia certainly has the capacity to retaliate in kind if there was an existential threat from the US – or fire the opening salvo for that matter

And judging by the words of the man himself, the risk is ramping up In his annual end-of-year address in 2018, Putin warned of the “destruction of civilization as a whole and maybe even our planet” Happy new year to you too That was on account of the US

’ sheepishness about renewing multiple nuclear treaties, which Putin called “the breakup of the arms control system” Of course, it’s probably not a good idea to take a potentially hostile power at face value, but it’s a salient point With US-Russia relations their weakest in some time due to Ukraine and Syria, there’s a risk that without sufficient Nuclear arms control, tensions could spiral out of control 1 Xi Jinping As you saw earlier, Climate change is up there as the most likely candidate to actually cause a global catastrophe

So it’s worth mentioning the man who has the biggest burden to bear in solving it As of right now, China is the biggest contributor to climate change in the world It’s responsible for close to 30% of the world’s emissions – a figure which has risen sharply in the 21st century And worse still, emissions are actually INCREASING, still, and they’re set to do so until at least 2030 That’s partly due to Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s decision to relax restrictions on building new coal power stations

On top of that, Chinese firms are building as many as 300 new plants abroad According to Climate Action Tracker, we could see a FOUR degree celsius increase in global temperatures by the end of the century if major action isn’t taken That’s two point six times the manageable target increase, which could plunge the world into serious food scarcity and displace tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of people worldwide In those kinds of conditions, there’s a real risk of resource wars emerging, and we’ll have Xi to thank

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