I say the answer is no, and here’s why.
A great question for the beginning of a new year, it is something we have been pondering for centuries. Every time a new technology comes onto the centre stage doomsday sayers wring their hands and start sweating profusely at the horror of it all. From crossbows, the English Archer, to the terrifying introduction of gunpowder on western battlefields, this question has been paramount in the minds of philosophers probably since we first discovered how to make fire.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution mankind has been increasingly fascinated at the thought of our complete destruction; Moore’s Law states a doubling of transistors on computer chips every two years and this has held true pretty much. This rule can be applied elsewhere: with the increasing of our so-called efficiency we are more able to produce pollutants and waste, and through the alleged benefits of technology we seem to devour new and discard ‘old’ at what appears to be an increasing, alarming and exponential rate.
I am not a Luddite; I love technology, sometimes for its own sake. The sheer beauty of it can be astounding. I bought a Nikon F2a in 1985 – it was already 5 years old but was cutting edge at the time. I only got rid of it two years ago – it had lasted 32 years in perfect condition. I loved that camera but eventually made the leap to a digital format due to increasing cost of developing films, etc. In the two years since I made that transition two newer versions of it have come onto the market, all the while trying to draw me to buy them – better colour, higher resolution, etc. It all appears to be self-fulfilling and seems the minute we deal with anything to do with electronics we are continually being sucked into buying new and ‘better’ versions. We need this, we need that.
My gut feeling is that it is mostly younger people who are susceptible to the draw of ever-newer gadgetry – certainly marketing appears to target them with an intensity that is hard to ignore. I think as I grow older I become more cynical about the benefits of ‘new’ – recognising that the people who truly benefit are the manufacturers. Having said that I think that younger people are also growing more cynical; devices that would once have sold like hot cakes are being left on the shelf, after all, how many ways do we need to communicate with each other?
Back to the original question: will we be responsible for our doomsday? Much as I think it is being predicted that we will be the authors of our own doom, I think we tend to return to a stable format as new things that appear initially to be revolutionary become old and accepted. Even the nuclear threat has become background noise in our everyday life and we forget that once upon a time the only protection we had against it was to dive under our school desks or shelter in a doorway under a mattress. Strangely, it still is the only protection we have but now we ignore it and get on with our lives, hardly ever giving it a thought. In spite of this it may yet happen and when it does it will be pretty unpleasant, especially for the survivors. But there will be survivors and is unlikely to be the total wipe-out predicted.
External Doomsday Threats
Comet Lovejoy is apparently visible in the night sky at the moment – I haven’t seen it yet. Terry Lovejoy, an amateur astronomer from Queensland, Australia, has identified five new comets in his time. So how many are out there to be discovered, how many to be missed until it is too late? I believe the real threat to mankind is not from us because with all things biological, population numbers are sorted out one way or another – even with our improving technology natural selection still has a say.
The real threat comes from outside our sphere of knowledge: a cataclysmic collision with a meteor is still the most likely absolute death event, followed closely by invasion from one of those billions of earth-like Goldilocks worlds we are discovering that might contain higher intelligence life-forms than us (and how hard would that be?). To remain one of the universe’s players we need to create multiple points of existence – that’s to say populate other planets – in case this one is wiped out. I’m not wrong!
Science Thriller Books by this Author – available worldwide on all good eBook stores:
The Animus Portal
Other books by the author:
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle (first in Trilogy)
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (second in Trilogy)
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Dez Rez (third in Trilogy)
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle Trilogy – three books in one
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle (first in trilogy)
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor (second in trilogy)