As tech experts warn that the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence could threaten humanity, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, in conversation with Ideapod, weighed in with its own predictions on how humanity could be wiped off the face of the Earth.
“It’s important to note that predicting the end of the world is a difficult and highly speculative task, and any predictions in this regard should be viewed with skepticism,” the bot responded. “However, there are several trends and potential developments that could significantly impact the trajectory of humanity and potentially contribute to its downfall.”
The chatbot shared seven possible doomsday scenarios that are of great concern to the survival of humanity.
1. Climate Change: Displacement, Extreme Weather, and Ecosystem Collapse
ChatGPT kicked off its grim predictions by speculating that climate change will have “catastrophic effects on the planet if not addressed,” pointing to how rising sea levels, extreme weather, and food scarcity could lead to “widespread displacement, conflict, and instability.”
When asked in a follow-up question exactly how climate change could end the world, the chatbot elaborated: “Coastal flooding and displacement of millions of people could lead to the loss of infrastructure and global unrest. Severe weather events, such as hurricanes and droughts, may increase in frequency and intensity, while ecosystem collapse could disrupt global food webs.”
Noam Chomsky, an American linguist, philosopher, and political activist, has long been vocal about the consequences of climate change, stating, “The most striking fact about contemporary politics is the utter failure to respond to the truly existential threats that are not only imminent but are already having disastrous effects.”
2. Nuclear Weapons: Geopolitical Tensions and the Threat of Devastating Warfare
ChatGPT argued that the continued development of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear warfare is another “potential threat to humanity.”
The chatbot said that “currently” threats of a global conflict involving nuclear weapons is low but that “geopolitical tensions and regional conflicts could potentially escalate and result in devastating consequences.”
Of course, ChatGPT has been trained on data up to the year 2021, so it is unable to take into account the current Ukraine-Russia war.
Yuval Harari, a historian and author of the best-selling book “Sapiens,” has expressed his concerns about the risks of nuclear conflict, asserting, “We have become so powerful that we can destroy not only ourselves but also the entire ecosystem.”
3. Rise of Technology: Impact on Employment and Societal Structures
The chatbot’s third prediction on how the world could end focused on the rise of the technology it uses to operate.
“The continued evolution of artificial intelligence and robotics also raises concerns about the potential impact on employment and societal structures,” ChatGPT said. “The automation of jobs could lead to significant economic and social disruption, potentially contributing to widespread unrest and instability.”
Arundhati Roy, an Indian author and political activist, has cautioned against the growing reliance on technology, stating, “Our technology is at war with the world, and sooner or later, the world will adapt and fight back.”
4. Pandemics: The Spread of Infectious Diseases in a Globally Interconnected World
Pandemics and public health crises were also identified by ChatGPT as potential threats to humanity, citing the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
“The rapid spread of infectious diseases, particularly in a globally interconnected world, could lead to widespread illness, death, and social and economic disruption,” the chatbot said.
When asked about the top pandemics that could wipe out humanity, ChatGPT explained, “The likelihood and severity of any specific pandemic are difficult to predict. However, some potential threats include an influenza pandemic, an Ebola virus outbreak, a novel coronavirus pandemic, or bioterrorism-related events.”
5. Water Scarcity: A Looming Crisis with Far-Reaching Consequences
ChatGPT pointed out that water scarcity is a growing concern that could have disastrous consequences for humanity. “As the global population continues to grow, and climate change exacerbates water shortages, the competition for this essential resource could lead to regional conflicts and instability,” the chatbot warned.
It further elaborated, “In the most severe cases, water scarcity could disrupt agricultural production, cause widespread famine, and even trigger mass migrations, putting immense pressure on already strained resources and social systems.”
Noam Chomsky weighed in on this issue as well, stating, “Water scarcity could turn out to be one of the defining crises of the 21st century, with the potential to destabilize entire regions and plunge the world into conflict.”
6. Biodiversity Loss: Disrupting the Balance of Earth’s Ecosystems
Another threat to humanity identified by ChatGPT is the ongoing loss of biodiversity. The chatbot explained, “The loss of species and habitats due to human activities, such as deforestation and pollution, has the potential to disrupt the delicate balance of Earth’s ecosystems, leading to unpredictable and potentially disastrous consequences.”
ChatGPT also highlighted the impact of this loss on humanity: “Biodiversity is essential for the proper functioning of ecosystems, providing essential services like pollination and natural pest control. Losing these services could lead to food shortages and the collapse of industries that rely on healthy ecosystems.”
Arundhati Roy has also expressed her concern about biodiversity loss, saying, “The rapid erosion of the world’s biodiversity is an unfolding catastrophe that we must urgently address if we want to avoid untold suffering for future generations.”
7. Social Inequality: The Growing Divide Between the Rich and the Poor
The final doomsday scenario ChatGPT identified in its conversation with Ideapod is the growing social inequality between the rich and the poor.
The chatbot stated, “Unchecked social inequality has the potential to lead to widespread unrest, political instability, and even violent conflict as marginalized populations struggle for access to resources and opportunities.”
Yuval Harari also has concerns about growing social inequality, saying, “If we allow social inequality to continue growing unchecked, we risk creating a world that is fundamentally unstable and prone to upheaval.”
ChatGPT further explained the consequences of social inequality: “A highly unequal society can undermine the social fabric, erode trust in institutions, and contribute to the spread of extremist ideologies. This could destabilize nations and, in the worst cases, lead to global conflict.”
Although it is important to approach ChatGPT’s predictions with an appropriate level of skepticism, they nevertheless stress the pressing need for international collaboration and swift action to confront these potential doomsday scenarios.
By recognizing and understanding these threats, humanity can work together to build a future that minimizes the risk of catastrophe and ensures the survival and prosperity of generations to come.