Wikipedia's mindblowing timeline of the far future


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/25/wikipedias-mindblowing-timel.html


#2

Hilariously, they think humanity will last 10,000 years.

The number of extant trends that have to be ignored in order to believe this prediction is rather large. Increasing toxicity of subsurface water, ongoing albedo change, economimc inequalities and political instability, increasing number of unstable personalities commanding species-ending technological capabilities… we ain’t going to last a tenth of that long, unless unprecedented social changes take place very very soon.


#3

I guess Wikipedia isn’t hopeful about Half Life 3 being released, as it isn’t on the list.


#4

I think it’s more that the description of the article explicitly excludes anything projected to happen in less than 10k years.

In other words, people tried to find all the forecasts that put human extinction 10k+ years away, and only found 4.


#5

I think Wikipedia has read one too many Foundation novels.


#6

Even if you only count “civilization”, we’ve already lasted about 10,000 years.

I share your cynicism about the sustainability of what we call the First World, but I doubt we’ll see the extinction of homo Sapiens Sapiens in the next thousand years.


#7

It would take a lot to exterminate the last million humans. We’ve already out-competed literally everything we’ve ever seen. Not to say the big rock couldn’t show up tomorrow, but odds are against it.


#8

I think we’ll see a bottleneck event, though. I’m not so sure we’re fast enough to outrun the mess we’ve made.


#9

The Doomsday argument is just misuse of probability theory.

Still, this is kind of cool.

A fall of technological civilization is a lot more likely than the total extinction of the human species. If the former occurs, then the question remains as to whether we’re an evolutionary dead end without our tech. I kind of doubt it.

Curiously, they do cite one of many possible solutions to the Drake equations, which suggests they’re referring to technological civilization (AKA detectable form space) and not the actual species, which is a lot harder to eradicate.


#10

I may not convince you, but without our tech I see us having a hard time feeding ourselves in large numbers in the next less than 200 years. Extinct in 1000, maybe, but I don’t see this civilization making it. I don’t think I am being particularly pessimistic, I see us at least having an energy shortage that will impact our current capacity to transport goods in much of the world - and without that life gets real hard a lot of places.


#11

Oh I think we agree more than we disagree here. Without our tech I predict we’re down to a few million at the absolute most, maybe less. But we only need a few thousand for a viable gene pool. Basically we’d no longer dominate the planet, but we might survive long enough to find a metastable niche from which we could rejoin the normal course of evolution.


#12

that we do


#13

Here’s to cognitive dissonance!

image


#14

Not sure if you’re an Abney Park fan, but this discussion put me in the mood for this…


#15

You can’t be 100% sure of this.
It’s a statistical proability1) of 1 event over a period of 500,000 years - the proability of it happening in, say 400,000 years is exactly as high (or low) as it is as happening next year.

1) I’d like to see the math behind this. Given how little we know about “out there”, there are bound to be a lot of assumptions in this.


#16

Whatever the date on the death of the final human will be, you can be certain of one thing:

They’ll die choking on the flesh of the second last human that they just cannibalized.


#17

You must be a ball at parties.


#18

You must be a ball at parties

At my parties we only choke on ice cream and cake.


#19

So… cake or death?


#20

Thats not strictly true. We havent out competed ourselves. We have the means to make every animal larger than ourselves extinct, and ourselves along with them.

Pure dumb luck has kept this from happening so far, Im not optimistic about relying on that till the end of time.