There are 14 scenarios of human extinction: experts named dangerous evolutionary traps

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Humanity is stubbornly pushing itself into evolutionary traps that lead to death. Source: still from The Last Of Us/OBOZ.UA

Perhaps the future of humanity is not as optimistic as many people imagine it to be, and our species has no guarantees of success. Scientists have identified 14 evolutionary traps that could eventually lead to humanity's demise.

This is stated in a study by researchers from Stockholm University in Sweden. Their work is published in the scientific journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

According to the researchers, the main problem is that technological development has allowed humanity to feel too free on the planet. However, our complete dominance and success can have dangerous consequences.

People are already facing the threat of the end of the Anthropocene era (a conventional geological era when human activity played a significant role in the Earth's ecosystem). This is due to climate change, global pandemics, and other factors.

At the same time, most of these factors are the result of human activity. As explained by anthropologist Peter Søgaard Jørgensen from Stockholm University, humans are an incredibly creative species that can innovate, adapt to many circumstances, and cooperate on a surprisingly large scale.

"But these abilities, as it turns out, have unintended consequences," the scientist said.

The evolutionary traps mentioned by the authors of the study are divided into three groups: global, technological, and structural.

In the first case, we are talking about the simplification of certain systems, which makes them incapable of adaptation. For example, monoculture agriculture will not be able to rebuild itself in the event of a crisis.

Moreover, the fact that humanity is striving for growth has already become an end in itself. This is detrimental to welfare and provokes another trap, which is overstretching the planet. The fact is that we are already using more than the Earth can produce. That is why some resources are already on the verge of depletion.

The factor of division into countries, nations, etc. also plays against humanity, resulting in international conflicts.

Another global trap is infection. We are talking, in particular, about infectious diseases. For example, COVID-19 has clearly shown how weak humanity is when it comes to counteracting a disease that is spreading rapidly around the world.

As for technological traps, we are talking about infrastructure dependence (as in the case of fossil fuels), chemical pollution, existential technologies (such as nuclear weapons), technological autonomy (including artificial intelligence), and disinformation.

Structural traps include short-termism, overconsumption, the biosphere gap, and the loss of local social capital as the increasingly digital world cuts off social interaction and potentially fosters further division.

According to Science Alert, the researchers warn that 12 of these traps are already considered advanced. Only technological autonomy and the loss of local social capital have not become serious problems yet.

Even though the picture is quite gloomy, scientists suggest that active transformation of society can save humanity. The point is not just to recognize the problems but also to start doing something concrete to eliminate them.

"A very simple thing that everyone can do is to be more involved in nature and society and to learn about the positive and negative global consequences of our own local actions. There is nothing better than touching something that needs protection," Jørgensen emphasized.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that according to scientists, the planet Earth is now in such a damaged state that it can no longer be considered a safe operating space for humanity.

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