|HOW ARE HUMANS GOING TO BECOME EXTINCT?|
Aruba, May 13, 2013 - What are the greatest global threats to humanity? Are we on the verge of our own unexpected extinction?
An international team of scientists, mathematicians and philosophers at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute is investigating the biggest dangers. And they argue in a research paper, Existential Risk as a Global Priority, that international policymakers must pay serious attention to the reality of species-obliterating risks. Last year there were more academic papers published on snowboarding than human extinction.
The Swedish-born director of the institute, Nick Bostrom, says the stakes couldn't be higher. If we get it wrong, this could be humanity's final century. Been there, survived it
So what are the greatest dangers?
First the good news. Pandemics and natural disasters might cause colossal and catastrophic loss of life, but Dr Bostrom believes humanity would be likely to survive.
This is because as a species we've already outlasted many thousands of years of disease, famine, flood, predators, persecution, earthquakes and environmental change. So the odds remain in our favour. And in the time frame of a century, he says the risk of extinction from asteroid impacts and super-volcanic eruptions remains "extremely small".
Even the unprecedented self-inflicted losses in the 20th Century in two world wars, and the Spanish flu epidemic, failed to halt the upward rise in the global human population. Nuclear war might cause appalling destruction, but enough individuals could survive to allow the species to continue. If that's the feelgood reassurance out of the way, what should we really be worrying about?
Dr Bostrom believes we've entered a new kind of technological era with the capacity to threaten our future as never before. These are "threats we have no track record of surviving".
Read more/ Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22002530