Here's How Earth Could Really End: Scientists

Global warming, pandemic, fungus ... a not-fun time for everyone
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2013 5:10 PM CST

(Newser) – From Planet of the Apes to After Earth, Hollywood has depicted Earth's demise many a time—but scientists' fears of planetary catastrophe are just as scary, LiveScience reports. Here are a few Doomsday scenarios as imagined by scientific minds:

  • Global warming: Scientists call this the biggest threat of all. Extreme weather, increased droughts, redistribution of diseases, submerged low-lying areas ... future generations might live on a very nasty planet.

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  • Pandemic threat: New pathogens come up annually, so why not? Think SARS, bird flu, and the recent coronavirus MERS. "The threat of a global pandemic is very real," said Joseph Miller, who co-authored the textbook Biology.
  • Fungus: Fungal threats can be even more destructive than bacterial ones. "We've had a new amphibian fungal disease that has just had devastating effects," said a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. A killer fungus of humans would be just as deadly.
  • Killer robots: Sounds nutty, sure, but the UN has called for a ban on them. And many computer experts say that the singularity—the moment when artificial intelligence outpaces human intelligence—is not far off.
Click to read about five more scenarios, including the "Snowball effect"—when multiple disasters come together in a not-so-perfect storm. (Read more natural disaster stories.)

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