Due to our innate sense of gratitude and optimism, humans have probably been envisioning the end of the world since the world began. Many different eschatological scenarios have been conceived – some positive, some negative – and I cannot hope to deal with all of them here. But here are some of the most commonly known events that just might bring about the end of the world and/or a new age.
Although there is virtually no evidence that any Christians believed in the Rapture (as it is described today) before Margaret MacDonald had her vision in 1830, it has become a widely accepted end-of-the-world scenario. Definitely the rosiest of the scenarios listed here, when the Rapture occurs, the true believers of Christ will disappear into thin air as they are driving to work in the morning, causing cataclysmic traffic accidents that will set off a chain of events resulting in the complete destruction of the wicked and the end of the world. (According to some groups, this will be happening next month, so buckle up folks!)
Also called the “Singularity Event,” the Singularity has been described as “the Rapture for geeks.” Basically, the Singularity is when scientific and technological progress begins to occur so rapidly that we cannot even keep up with it. Artificial intelligence and robotics will ensure that we no longer have to do anything for ourselves (but we will remain in complete control of our robotic slave armies, of course), while nanotechnology and other advances will bring about the immortality of the human race, letting us make full use of our superior faculties by watching Jersey Shore reruns for eternity. (It won’t be boring because perfect beings with synthetic brains do not get bored.)
That is, of course, the arrival of extraterrestrials. Of course, their technology and/or diets will be completely reliant upon our inferior gray matter, resulting in a mass brain-sucking frenzy. But perhaps some of us will survive due to their inability to prepare for things like bacteria, hackers, and fighter planes from the 1980’s.
The trees are trying to kill us! Aren’t you scared?! Yeah, me neither. (Sorry, M. Night.)
The Gray Goo
Often presented as a more overtly negative possibility resulting from misguided efforts of scientists toying with nanotechnology, the gray goo is a doomsday scenario in which matter-altering nanobots malfunction and turn all biological material into something that looks like pudding made by the Galactic Empire.
So now for the vote. It doesn’t really matter what you think the vote is about: you could pick the doomsday scenario that you think is most likely to occur, your favorite one, the scariest one, or the funniest one. Just vote for the one that sticks out to you the most in some way.