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The Human Race Has One In 500 Chance Of Facing Extinction Next Year, Scientist Claims

First Posted: Nov 25, 2016 04:31 AM EST

There have been several theories about the human race's extinction and not a single one has been proven to be true. Now, a Mathematician has claimed that there is one in 500 chance that the human race will face extinction next year.

According to The Independent, Dr. Fergus Simpson, a Mathematician at the University of Barcelona's Institute of Cosmos Sciences, said there was a 0.2 percent chance of a "global catastrophe" occurring in any given year over the course of the 21st century.

Dr. Simpson's calculation was based on the Doomsday Argument, which claimed that it can predict the number of future members of the human species based on an estimate of the total number of humans born so far.

"Our key conclusion is that the annual risk of global catastrophe currently exceeds 0.2%," Dr. Simpson wrote in a paper published in Arxiv. "In a year when Leicester City F.C. were crowned Premier League champions, we are reminded that events of this rarity can prove challenging to anticipate, yet they should not be ignored."

Dr. Simpson told The Sun that about 100 billion people have already been born and a similar number will arrive on Earth before our species meets its end. He estimated there was a 13 percent chance that humanity would fail to see out the 21st century.

Humans are now reproducing more quickly than ever before, which suggests that we are accelerating toward our demise at a terrifying pace. "It is quite worrying that we are so producing so many people, because it implies our time is limited if we keep it up," he said.

However, Dr. Simpson's approach is more optimistic compared to previous studies. British Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees suggested that there was a 50 percent probability of human extinction by the year 2100 in his 2003 book Our Final Hour.

"Irrespective of the aforementioned statistical inferences, it would be naive in the extreme to believe that the annual risk of global catastrophe is vanishingly small," Dr. Simpson said. He believes that there is about 87 percent chance that the human race will live to see the year 2100.

This calculation agrees with a past study that was based on the "longevity of historical civilizations" and suggested that humanity should be able to keep going for another 700 years.

Meanwhile, The Sun also asked Dr. Simpson whether his calculations left him feeling sad. "I find it a little bit depressing," he said. "However, I have a background in cosmology and know that we are already doomed in five billion years, because we don't have a hope of seeing out the death of our sun or the other stars. I am acutely aware that existence is finite," he continued.

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