Which one of global warming, global pollution, pandemics, AI and nuclear war do you think is causing the biggest threat to humanity?

I wrote this 2016. Still relevant and now more "present".

Which one of global warming, global pollution, pandemics, AI and nuclear war do you think is causing the biggest threat to humanity?

1. Global warming due primarily to a much higher volume of CO2 released than what the plants on Earth can consume by photosynthesis. This makes the global warming accelerating. Once the two biggest countries in the world China and India start to consume energy at a rate approaching the one in Europe and North America, the situation will be out of control.

2. Global pollution. By 2000, the world’s chemical production had increased 400 fold since 1930. Chemicals have made much of modern life possible, but they’ve also contaminated landscapes around the world. They can travel great distances by air or accumulate in the bodies of animals and humans who absorb chemicals through the skin or ingest them in food or water. While some chemicals may be harmless, others can cause damage. Increasingly, there is particular concern lately about three types of chemicals: chemicals that persist in the environment and accumulate in the bodies of wildlife and people, endocrine disruptors that can interfere with hormones, and chemicals that cause cancer or damage DNA. Nuclear waste is an example of a persistent chemical. Currently, the plans for safe long-term storage are not convincing, neither technically nor economically.

3. Pandemics and antibiotics resistance. In 1918, a strain of influenza spread worldwide and killed between 20 and 50 million people—more than were killed in all of World War I. With a larger and larger population and more and more resistant bacteria a Pandemic could come sometime soon. NB. A Pandemic can also be engineered by humans. (Addition: Was Covid just an early warning of something bigger?)

4. Artificial Intelligence. Already now we entrust computers to run our stock markets, land our planes, correct our spelling, Google our trivia, and calculate our restaurant tips. In development are robots that look like us, talk like us and recognize our facial movements. How long before they are us, as we download our thoughts and memories into our hard drives, the so-called “singularity”? How long before these machines are self-aware? Futurist and author Ray Kurzwell believes computers will be as smart as us by 2029, and by 2045 will be billions of times smarter than us. What then? I choose to see AI as an opportunity rather than a threat but I can easily say I am not sure.

5. Nuclear war: With increasing numbers of unstable countries like Pakistan and North Korea in possession of atomic weapons, the availability to terrorists seems only a matter of when and not if. Some large nations have populistic and possibly mentally unstable leaders.The United States and Russia have a combined arsenal of 14,700 nuclear weapons, and there is an estimated total of 15,700 nuclear weapons in existence worldwide.

// Christopher Engman