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Maybe they never existed because intelligent life so rarely evolves, or maybe all other advanced civilizations destroyed themselves before they got to the stage of uploading themselves to computers and sending out masses of probes.So: what could cause total human extinction in the next 200 years?I must also admit that I am not an expert of human extinction risks. I don’t propose this post as providing a scholarly game plan, but as an invitation for more people to engage in researching this badly neglected subject: the possibility of total human extinction.With regards to the danger posed by `runnaway physics experiments`, it is true that we cannot quantify all of the risks ( no doubt many of them are currently unknown ), but we can say that they are far too tiny to worry about.Moreover, total human extinction is, perhaps for the first time in recorded history, quite plausible. If we can survive the next 200 years, we may by then be able to upload our minds into computers, make copies, and send them off in probes to thousands or millions of destinations in the galaxy.
Solar flares are never large enough to destroy our entire atmosphere, and thus our species.
If we compare this possible history to a day, what has occurred so far is only a fraction of a second. What disasters could cause total human extinction in the next 200 years?
worse than the loss of 99.999% of all humans, after which enough humans would survive that they could eventually repopulate Earth and perhaps the galaxy. There is another reason for framing the question this way.
But a precisely engineered bioweapon could penetrate some strongholds protected even from, say, nuclear warfare, and thus I’ve graduated this risk to “extremely unlikely to cause total human extinction.” Runaway physics experiments could, say, create a black hole that would swallow the Earth.
Though worries about the Large Hadron Collider are unfounded, the general point remains that physicists are often creating forces and particles and environments that have never existed before on Earth, and playing with physical laws and dimensions we do not understand.
Likewise, a gamma ray burst aimed directly at Earth would kill most of us, but would spare some of those who happen to be underground at the time.