With the constant advancement of modern technology and medicine, so too grows the life expectancy of the average human being. In fact out of curiosity whilst writing this blog post, I took a life expectancy test from a website called ‘My Longevity’ and they estimated my life expectancy at 92 years! That’s impressive considering back in 1970 the average Australian life expectancy was only 71 years of age, allowing me to live longer than I’ve currently existed than the average person back then. That’s just our individual life expectancies though, what about the life expectancy of humanity as a whole?
Humanity has come a long way from its hunter gatherer origins, and accompanying that progress has come a level of security for our species. Our existence is no longer threatened by predators such as the saber toothed cat, and we’re less susceptible to the climate and death from preventable disease and infections. So with all that in mind just how likely are we to meet our existential doom? According to The Stern Review, a report compiled by the UK government on the topic of climate change, there is an assumed 0.1 percent risk of human extinction every year. To put that into perspective, the average person’s chance of dying in a car crash each year is just 0.01 percent! The Stern Review isn’t the only resource hypothesizing on our extinction either, there are dozens of theories ranging from superstitious conspiracies to theories that consider observable threats we’re facing right now and in the near future.
These existential threats to humanity should concern you, whether it’s the possibility of an extinction event occurring within your lifespan, or depending on how strongly connected you feel with humanity as a whole, the possibility of our extinction beyond your existence as an individual. For example both the Drake Equation, written by Frank Drake in 1961, and Brandon Carter’s Doomsday Argument formulated in 1983, prophesize the most likely lifespan of humanity to be only 10,000 years in the future. I say ‘only’ because despite me only being estimated to live for less than one percent of those 10,000 years, I have greater hopes for mankind as a species. 10,000 years just isn’t enough time for us to reach our potential and to understand the universe around us.
To put those short 10,000 years into perspective, it would take us 100,000 years just to terraform Mars with a breathable atmosphere and the shortest estimated time in which humanity could explore and colonise our Milky Way galaxy is one million years from now! So whether you’re concerned with the possibility of meeting the fate of humanity within your own lifetime, or the survival of future generations so that they may represent our species to the universe, make sure you read my ensuing blog posts as I discuss the threats to the human race.