People Debate Which Things Are Most Likely To Cause Humanity's Extinction
Image by MasterTux from Pixabay

I've seen enough end-of-the-world movies to know that when the end does come that The Rock will not be there to save my lazy self from impending doom. Life isn't like the movies, sad to say. The relationship humans have to the world is remarkably unhealthy, and as we continue to reckon with the consequences of big business running the world, exploiting resources, and pushing us ever further toward climate catastrophe––

*takes a deep breath*

Sorry, got a bit carried away there... the anxiety is real. I promise that there are some more humorous answers sprinkled in this article, thanks to the efforts of Redditor TwoTimeToj, who asked the online community,

"What is most likely to cause humanity's extinction?"

"I've always thought..."

"I've always thought that humans will begin modifying DNA and making cyborg-like modifications to the human body until we reach the point that the concept of human will be so diluted that we will have to call ourselves another way, leading to the extinction of humanity as we know it."


So what you're saying is... On the next season of Westworld... the humans strike back.

"I think people..."

"I think people really underestimate what it would take to actually completely exterminate our entire species. We already bounced back from a population collapse down to under 10,000 once, we could do so again. Nuclear war, ecological collapse, incurable disease; I highly doubt that any of them could kill everyone. Even if it's just a few isolated pockets in the outback or the jungle that survive, that's still not extinction.

Honestly, I think it would take a cosmic catastrophe (asteroid/comet impact, gamma ray burst, etc) to completely obliterate us and that assumes that it occurs soon enough that we don't have viable populations outside of Earth."


If an asteroid or comet or gamma ray burst is going to hit us, then I suppose it would all be over mercifully quick. That's not soooo bad, I suppose.

happy amy poehler GIF by Amy Poehler's Smart Girls Giphy

"Zorp The Surveyor will come down to earth and end human existence by melting off everyone's faces with his volcano mouth."


Well, at least I'd laugh while I meet my maker.

"A bad-tempered..."

"A bad-tempered, bureaucratic alien species of space engineers deciding to construct a hyperspace bypass through our solar system."


Oh! Oh!

I've seen this movie. It was just okay... Ridley Scott, what were you doing?

(Don't get me started on Alien: Covenant).

"How about..."

"How about solar flares? What if there comes a solar flare that fries all electronics? Suddenly, we'd have no transportation, no food because it relies on transportation, no running water, no pacemakers, etc.?"


"The inevitable continuation..."

"The inevitable continuation of the mass extinction of insects leading to the mass die-off of vegetation leading to starvation. But climate disasters will be happening simultaneously along with social unrest (magnified by the increasing disparity between the wealthy and everyone else), so there will be plenty to kill off most of us before we get to the starving part."


I think nuclear war. The madman theory states that no sane person would launch a nuke due to the fact it would end the world, but I don't think sane people end up in power, and I definitely don't think someone in power would concede power as a result of war without lobbing one final and world-ending "f*** you."


And the theory of nuclear deterrence states that an enemy will be deterred from using nuclear weapons as long as he can be destroyed as a consequence. So far that's held, but... fingers crossed.

"The regressives..."

"I think it'll be a full-on Idiocracy situation. We're already over-branding everything, and getting more aggressively stupid. The regressives will take over the planet, and not know how to run anything. The problem is that no one has ever invented those auto-deactivating cryogenic pods, so Luke Wilson won't wake up and tell them to use water on their crops. Then they'll all starve."



"Greed of manufacturing companies causing pollution/rubbish that destroys the planet for us."


"Most of our societies..."

"I see most of the likely guesses already. Decent chance that we'll make our planet uninhabitable in the next 100 years or so, but there's another possibility.

Most of our societies are evolving in a deeply unhealthy way. We're not interacting physically with members of our communities and establishing connections to the people who share our cities and towns with us. In the hierarchy of needs, social connection is not high but it is there and you can already see the effects of it not being met.

I think that even if we dodge all the other bullets we'll raise enough subsequent generations of children that feel no attachment to other humans that we'll just lose our will to continue. I already see young people today who will never know the joy of a neighborhood pickup game of baseball or going to their pub to socialize or just hanging out with friends. All of their social gratification comes from talking to people online who are much more like them. There is less effort required to understand someone who likes all the same games, music and art that you do than there is to some kid on your track team, so they take the path of least resistance and a lot gets lost in that process.

This is not some cranky old man complaining about the next generation. I don't see them as entitled or lazy. I see them as the victims."


We live in a big and beautiful world. It's just a shame that we treat it as if we have somewhere else to go. Maybe if enough people get that, then we'll be just fine, but I'm not holding my breath.

Have some opinions of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!

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