A bleak, gloomy landscape with a gnarled tree in the front and ash gently settling from the sky make up the scene’s first shot. A few forlorn folks might be seen stumbling into the gloomy future on the horizon. If this seems familiar, it’s likely because it is a frequent visual cliche in post-apocalyptic movies. Typically, these movies depict a disaster that wipes out mankind, such as an asteroid impact or nuclear war, and then follow the difficulties that the survivors must overcome in order to prevent the extinction of their species.
These movies capture people’s attention. But what if the extinction of humans were a genuine threat rather than just a sci-fi plot? This may sound like a thrilling issue, but in reality, hundreds of scientists worldwide spend their days debating the likelihood of a mass extinction and how to prevent it.
Their work is difficult. Numerous hypotheses exist on what may ultimately result in the extinction of humans, ranging from extraterrestrial incursions to catastrophic asteroid impacts. However, there is broad agreement among those looking into this issue that some threats to human life are more likely to occur than others. These are referred to as “existential dangers” by experts in the subject. Here is only a sample of the hazards that come to mind for researchers; there are many more.