Doomsday survival odds improve … slightly

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Human civilisation has a slim chance of surviving long enough to colonise other planets, but the odds are much better than some earlier estimates, a new analysis shows.

The study, published on the pre-press website, revisits a theoretical concept known as the ‘universal doomsday argument’ (….)

(…..) In their new paper, Gerig and colleagues finetune this gloomy prediction by weighing the probability of our civilisation will survive under different conditions such as nuclear wars, asteroid impacts, pandemics or climate change.

Crucially, they consider the possibility that the percentage of civilisations in the universe that survive long-term could be anything between zero and 100 per cent.

“Previously, the traditional doomsday argument suggested our chance of long-term survival was effectively zero,” Gerig says.

“We have corrected the argument and performed a more thorough analysis to find that our actual chance of long-term survival is not zero, but perhaps somewhere between 1 per cent and 10 per cent.”

These may not sound like good odds, but for Gerig and colleagues they are cause for optimism.

“This gives us hope,” he says. “If most civilisations are complacent and do not take seriously the threats they face, then we can choose to be different.”

“We can be the 1 per cent to 10 per cent of civilisations that devote considerable resources to confronting existential risks, and that seriously undertakes space exploration and colonisation so that even if these threats make one planet inhabitable, we would have other places to live.”……..


Written by physicsgg

March 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm


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