End Times (Book Review)

End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World: Asteroids, Super Volcanoes, Rogue Robots, and More by Bryan Walsh is a rather entertaining overview of the end. In the book, he describes the broad categories of how we could end it all for humanity.

I found the book to be well-researched (as far as I can judge) and it doesn’t go too far in putting a number on everything (e.g. comparing the different risks).

It also isn’t too focused on technological innovation, nor on stopping ourselves in our tracks and saying that innovation is bad.

Topics:

  • Asteroids (for the first time in history we might not be done for this time, but detection is still very hard)
  • Volcano (could help with climate change, but if it’s a supervolcano/eruption, then we’re royale screwed)
  • Nuclear (can still go wrong, difficult to estimate effects of nuclear winter, probably a small group would survive)
  • Climate change (happening, maybe innovate our way out of it, carbon capture)
  • Disease (more because of better connectedness, but fewer people die of them (better health), but…)
  • Biotechnology (… we could engineer one that both infects a lot of people, and then kills them all (or just a subgroup, reminds me now of Utopia (Channel 4 series))
  • Artificial Intelligence (if goes wrong, could be very wrong, but I’m somewhat convinced by David Deutsch that if we do it, we can only do it the right way, timeline unknown)
  • Aliens (where are they, but isn’t too important subject in the book)

Overall very enjoyable and well-written. If only someone had decided not to do the voice acting (my goodness).

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