347 risk analysts were asked: "What are the most likely risks for the world over the next year and a half?"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/26/347-risk-analysts-asked-wha.html


I gotta just say, given the year we’ve already had, that’s the weakest, laziest list of possible disasters that could have been imagined. But this is what we get from the exciting world of risk analysts.

A REAL list would include:

  • We lose the moon.

  • Nutritionists announce they were wrong, kale is bad for you.

  • Murder hornets become less of a threat when the murder squirrels show up.

  • 50% increase in creepy clown sightings.

  • Every few days the sun flickers.

  • Aliens feel bad for us and in a misguided goodwill gesture, causing Earth’s entire atmosphere to vibrate to the tune of “We Are The World” 24/7.

  • 50% increase in the size of all spiders.

  • COVID 20 begins to spread rapidly and causes mild behavior quirks, like a constant desire to microwave fish.

  • Aliens get access to our internet, spend five minutes on Reddit, and then set our atmosphere on fire.

  • Fran Drescher and Gilbert Gottfried find a constitutional loophole that allows them to enter the presidential race and somehow they win and force the FCC to permanently set all TVs to stay powered on at max volume for their nightly state of the union speeches on all channels.

  • A solar flare wipes out all fiber optic cables and we have to go back to AOL dialup.

  • A brutal civil war between Star Trek fans and Star Wars fans erupts, millions are annoyed.

  • A brutal civil war between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans and Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters fans erupts. The war ends with the remaining 40 ARBBH fans surrendering and admitting they are also TMNT fans.

  • 50% increase in speed of spiders.

  • Linux finally reaches the year of “linux on the desktop” and promptly bricks millions of PCs due to a bad patch that impacts an app that only 20 people use.

  • Grass learns to scream.

  • Microsoft goes open source and it’s discovered that 70% of the code is just GOTO statements.

  • Hundreds of witnesses come forward to clear Carol Baskins.

  • Repo Man retroactively wins the 1984’s Oscar Best Picture of the Year somehow (probably related to COVID 20).

  • The UN (finally) declares the US FDA’s 2013 ban on Mimollete imports a crime against humanity.

  • Fish start acting like dogs.

  • Dogs start acting like cats.

  • Cats act even more like cats.

  • Microsoft admits Azure is hosted by Amazon, Amazon admits AWS is hosted by Google, Google admits GCP is hosted by IBM, and IBM admits they subbed out all their cloud services to Dropbox years ago.

  • Clowns and spiders form an alliance.


And none of them picked “Risk analysts being crap at their job” as the #1 risk?

Also: risk to whom? Given the set of risks that appear at the top of this list, I’d suggest they were really asking “what’s the biggest risk to the 1%?”


I mean, yes, that’s what the WEF is for: 1%s and those aspiring to become a 1%er or at least a well-paid sycophant.


Understanding the priorities and audience of the WEF and that this has an international scope, I’m still a lot more pessimistic on the political and societal threats. 18 months from now I’d give it a minimum probability of 40% that Il Douche could be starting his second term and that the UK will have crashed out of the EU with no deal (those two things alone would in turn make more probable the other threats described).


First they came for the kale, and everybody cheered.

Yeah their analysis seemed rather self-serving and shortsighted. History shows again and again economies bouncing back after plagues and natural disasters.

No mention of lack of healthcare in shit hole countries like the USA or global climate change.

I guess the whole purpose of a “risk analyst” is to assess potential economic damage, so during a pandemic, the job is like being a smoke detector beeping in a building on fire.


That’s not a list of risks, that’s a list of 1970’s disaster movies!


Excellent list. One minor quibble:

This isn’t a risk, it’s justice long delayed. Terms of Endearment was 2+ hours of withering misery.


Healthcare becomes too expensive / ineffective

14%? I guess the other 86% think it can’t become what it already is.


Is it? (checks notes) Let’s see, 2020… burning an entire continent… murder hornets… macaques cosplaying planet of the apes successfully… pandemic… Rick Astley is now cool…

Nope, I stand by it.


Your speaking my language, friend. Let’s throw in a best actor Oscar for Harry Dean Stanton while we’re at it. That man was an overlooked gem.


Trump divorces Melania and marries the Queen of England to combine their realms?


I’d also ask them what are the odds that countries try to mitigate the effects by creating each one their own enemy and go at war against it just to keep their economies running.


Abrupt technology adoption, 13.8%? I’d say that’s been going on 100% the past couple decades.


(taking notes) Don’t stop now, I’ll add these to the list!


Risk analysis is about a lot more than money; I do risk assessment and management as part of my job and manage to disappoint and frighten or terrify a sizable portion of my clientele when they’re brave enough to ask the hard questions. Life safety, personal, physical and operational security are the things that are really worrying even the 1% these days. For the very wealthy, money’s simply a way of keeping score.


Marries? That’s rather civil. Not in this timeline, I guess. Andrew might want to go full Epstein and sell her to the highest bidder.

Also, while we’re at it: Rob Rhinehart’s company lifts off, and two years from now, no-one listens to Frank Thorn.

So much about this graph is awful.
But I’m amused by this one out of three chance that we have a market collapse while also one in thirty chance people will have more dislike for businesses.

Also, one in six chance we see some industries getting nationalized; way to go socialists!


It’s guaranteed to be the wrong industries (not because of socialists, but because everything is stupid). Peanut farms will be nationalized, or bingo card production, or…

…or actually, our government will nationalize the solar energy industry, then idle the factories. That’s pretty believable.


Noooooooo! Won’t anyone think of the corgis?!?