Scientists used a computer to predict exactly when society would collapse
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Scientists once used a computer to predict when society as we know it would collapse, and let's just say there's apparently not long to go.
We often rely on technology these days to give us an idea of what life might look like in the future, whether it's through AI predictions or simply becoming more and more reliant on the machines in our daily lives.
The general hope is that life will only continue to get better and more efficient over the years, but back in the 1970s, some more pessimistic minds decided to use technology to predict when society would come crashing down around us.
The scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used computer modelling to make their prediction, looking at data patterns from a variety of different factors, such as population, natural resources and energy usage.
The team’s study, which was published by Club of Rome, identified upcoming ‘limits to growth’ that would cause the industrial collapse.
Through this research, the team learned that the fall of society would hit near the midpoint of the 21st century. And yes, in case you'd forgotten, that's the century we're currently in the middle of.
In fact, there's apparently less than two decades to go until the collapse. 17 years, to be precise, as the scientists predicted the collapse would come in 2040.
At the time the report wasn’t taken too seriously and did attract some ridicule, the Guardian reports. However, before you start to feel smug you should know that in 2009, a different team of researchers did a similar study which produced similar results.
Published by American Scientist, the more recent study concluded that the model’s results were ‘almost exactly on course some 35 years later in 2008 (with a few appropriate assumptions)'.
"It is important to recognise that its predictions have not been invalidated and in fact seem quite on target. We are not aware of any model made by economists that is as accurate over such a long time span," the study said.
Further to this, in 2021 Dutch sustainability researcher, Gaya Herrington, also affirmed the somewhat bleak predictions made in the study.
Speaking to the Guardian, Herrington said: “From a research perspective, I felt a data check of a decades-old model against empirical observations would be an interesting exercise.”
Herrington found that data aligned with the predictions made back in 1972, which had a worse case scenario of economic growth coming to halt at the end of this decade, and collapse around 10 years later.
Thankfully, however, Herrington did have a bit of optimistic news.
She told the Guardian: “The key finding of my study is that we still have a choice to align with a scenario that does not end in collapse.
"With innovation in business, along with new developments by governments and civil society, continuing to update the model provides another perspective on the challenges and opportunities we have to create a more sustainable world.”