Mini-Feature: Will Humanity Last Another 1,000 Years?

No man knows the day or the hour, but it's still fun to think about

How likely do you think it is that humans last another 1,000 years without killing ourselves off?

The rate of the rise of technology in the last 150 years has led many to think we are in danger of offering ourselves. I don’t think this is the case. First, you have to realize how many millennia we’ve already been around. We survived extreme climate change of the likes no one today can imagine for hundreds of thousands of years without modern technology. We’ve only begun to learn how to alter and adjust global conditions, but mega construction projects alone could potentially do so like dials (look up what happened globally when the isthmus of Panama was formed and start thinking big). The potential for the use and abuse of technology is always high, and history does not merely “progress”, so disaster and regress is always possible. But offing our entire species would, in my estimation, likely take some kind of unforeseen global or galactic event. If this is always a possibility, would you rather be alive now with modern technology or in the past? In which era could we most likely do something about it? The answer is now, of course. And in the future, should we keep learning. No, as the man said, and has been true in the recent history of earth (the last few billions years), life finds a way. Even if the west flirts with suicidal thoughts at present, at worst it will simply be replaced by other civilizations more in accord with nature. No, humans we will likely still be here in 1,000 years, even if battered and torn from hard lessons soon to come.

-Matt Peterson

1,000 years is a long time. It takes a lot of effort to kill everyone off. Even accidents on that scale take tremendous work. The only path I see to that hideous end state has to do with the bots. They get so powerful we kill ourselves trying to stop them—in The Matrix, this scenario fails on both counts. Or one group tries to control all the bots and use them to “liberate” us from our own human form. Such things are concealed from us. Rather than trying to out think the future, we must understand what has already occurred.

-James Poulos

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Only God know the answer to this question. But if forced to answer, I predict human beings will not exist in our current form in 1000 years. Maybe augmented in some manner, yes, but not as we are now constituted. 

Remember, friends, if your lifestyle determines your death-style, take a look around and you'll extrapolate the answer just fine.

-David Bahr

I actually have a very easy, open-and-shut answer to this question. It's one of the few cases in which you'll get me to shut up relatively quickly: 

“Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” 

In case you are about to start saying “oh but we can—” let me interrupt you and stress once again the “neither the Son” part. No one knows how the world will end, including the angels and also Jesus, i.e., the literal God of the universe made flesh, except God the Father. I think you are probably not an exception to that rule. Me neither. Even I do not have quite so high an opinion of myself as that. 

It’s a good thing, too, because simply saying “dunno” spares us all the heebie-jeebies and mumbo-jumbo that come with extrapolating climate change, or social collapse, or great-power conflict, out into the 12 or 30 or a 100 years hence when it surely definitely is going to be over for us hoes. Amen I say to you once more: you do not know

Our addiction to science at the exclusion of all other wisdom makes us stupid. One example of that is we have a cultural habit of building apocalypse models on the basis of assuming that all present trends will continue exactly as they are. Accidents happen. Events intervene. Fortuna exists, and so does God. It’ll come when it comes.

-Spencer Klavan