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Top 10 Ways the World Might End in the Next 100 Years

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Fire and brimstone, ash raining down from the sky, the continents moving and collapsing in on themselves, huge asteroids, volcanoes or waves swallowing us whole – there are tons of uplifting potential futures for mother earth, each more terrifying than the last. Some are preventable, some are not. Some are our fault, some are not. We wish we could tell you not to worry since you might not even be around to see it anyway, but unfortunately that’s just not the case. If only this stuff stayed in the movies... In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 ways the world might end in the next 100 years.

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Top 10 Ways the World Might End in the Next 100 Years

If only these were fictional… Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 ways the world might end in the next 100 years.

#10 – Geomagnetic Reversal

There are no certainties in life, but you can always trust north and south. Except… The earth’s weakening magnetic field means we could be in the first phases of a geomagnetic reversal, where the poles actually flip. Doomsayers theorize it’ll cause shifting continents, solar storm vulnerability, accelerated climate change and mass extinctions. Scientists say no-way; it’s happened before and the earth survived. But they do admit it’d disrupt technology somethin’ fierce.

#9 – Gamma-Ray Burst

Must be a helluva lightshow: supernovas are some of the universe’s strongest explosions, and they discharge high-frequency electromagnetic radiation known as gamma-ray bursts – which sound pretty deadly to us. But don’t worry: for earth to be impacted, the supernova would have to be pretty close and aimed just right. Better hope the sun doesn’t explode though: then we’re talkin’ destroyed atmosphere, fires and acid rain-type stuff.

#8 – Black Hole

This is going out not with a bang, but a whimper. Floating around the Milky Way are thousands of black holes, and any one could swallow everything in its path without warning. Then there are the theories about manmade black holes courtesy of the Large Hadron Collider. What might being sucked through a black hole be like? Think eternal winter in outer space, or just plain nothingness.

#7 – Biotech Disaster

Biotechnology is a nice way of saying “messing with genetics.” Yes, it can potentially end world hunger and eradicate disease, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Biotechnology also lets us customize our kids, clone people and basically screw evolution. Ethical issues aside, imagine a race of superhumans so advanced they eliminate us? Or X-Men and zombie mutations? Or what if we bring dinosaurs back?

#6 – Climate Change

Climate change or global warming, manmade or natural: doesn’t matter. There’s no denying its repercussions on the planet: rising temperatures, droughts, extreme weather, diminishing air quality and dwindling natural resources are just the tip of the melting iceberg – it could even cause the next ice age. Some say climate change is the most urgent threat facing humanity, and we’re running out of time to stop it.

#5 – Supervolcano

A supervolcano is just what it sounds like: bigger, stronger and much more devastating than a regular volcano because when one goes, all supervolcanoes worldwide go. But it’s not like they’re everywhere. Oh wait, does Yellowstone sound familiar? Lava flows and sulfuric acid would be bad, but the debris emitted by an eruption could block the sun and cause a big freeze. But it’s rare, so there’s that.

#4 – Asteroid

Could this really end all life on earth? Ask the dinosaurs. A big enough asteroid impact would eclipse the devastation of a nuclear blast, and the chances of it happening aren’t as slim as you’d think: scientists have found asteroids that’ll pass scary-close to earth in our lifetime, but claim they won’t hit. Unless something changes. However, it’s the ones they haven’t found yet that are scarier.

#3 – Artificial Intelligence/Nanotechnology

Unless you’re some survivalist nutjob; computers and technology significantly impact your life. So what happens when computers surpass human intelligence, become self-aware and decide to take over? We predict a “Terminator”/“Matrix” mash-up, with lotsa Apple products. Worst-case scenario? Gray goo. Y’know, where molecular nanotechnology goes haywire and robots self-replicate until they devour everything on earth. So that’s fun. I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.

#2 – Pandemic/Biological Warfare

It’s a threat of biblical proportions: pandemics like the plague and H1N1 spread through humans like wildfire – the 1918 flu outbreak killed 3-5% of the world’s population. Today, we have the added bonus of drug-resistant bacteria. If nature doesn’t kill us, we might do it ourselves: biological warfare and weaponized viruses like anthrax or ebola are real threats too. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky few who’s immune.

#1 – Nuclear Holocaust

The Cold War may be over, but nuclear annihilation is still a threat. For more information, see “Iran” or “North Korea.” At the touch of a button, humanity could be crushed – not to mention the fallout, contaminated food, water, and air quality and – worse yet – nuclear winter. Consider this: nuclear war could easily be caused by a misunderstanding. But, we’ve been in this boat for decades, so sleep easy.

Which potential future keeps you up at night? Do you agree with our list, or do you think some new threat will end humanity? For more informative top 10s, be sure to subscribe to

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