Tipping Point Quick Hits (7.13.23)
Human Extinction Risk, Ukraine and NATO, and North Korean Missiles
Extinction Odds by 2100: 6 Percent
A recent survey of experts has concluded that humanity has lower odds of surviving to the year 2100 than “a man diagnosed with prostate cancer has of living another five years.” Or, put another way, your odds of being audited by the IRS this year—3.8 people out of every 1,000 returns filed, or 0.38 percent—are far lower than our odds of extinction over the next few decades.
Those are the conclusions of a new gathering of existential risk experts, who have made careers out of studying potential threats to the survival of humanity, including risks like nuclear warfare, pandemics, artificial intelligence or climate change. Here’s an article about the report:
The median expert put 6 percent odds that humans will go extinct by 2100; they estimated 20 percent odds of a catastrophic event before the year 2100 that kills off at least 10 percent of the human population within a five year period. (To put into perspective just how catastrophic such a catastrophic event would be, World War II resulted in the deaths of less than 4 percent of the global population at the time.)
As the article says, “these are astonishingly large risks.” The paper touting the results of the survey—which the organizers refer to as a “long-run forecasting tournament” speculates that humans may have a higher chance of human extinction this century than any past point in human history. They pointed to these recent claims:
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