The power of these technologies could lead us to an apocalypse

Technology never stops amazing us. However, we are at a stage where, for example, AIs and robots are not only blowing our minds but also scaring us because of their potential. Specifically, 5 technologies could upend our lives, here is the list.

Quantum Computing

In the next few years, computers could upset the whole internet causing every password to be cracked by the power of a quantum computer.

These computers could become the most powerful ones ever created, speeding up procedures like medication discovery and perhaps even preventing some diseases.

They are now being developed at Google, IBM, and other institutions around the world and can unlock previously unheard-of processing capabilities. They work using “qubits” where the numbers can be one, zero, or both at the same time instead of employing “bits” of ones and zeroes to compute. But there are risks associated with this ability, cautions Sectigo CSO and CISO advisor David Mahdi.

Quantum computers, Mahdi said, “have so much processing power they will make the encryption we have today unfit for purpose in an instant. This means that all the world’s data will no longer be secure, think of everything from bank account details to medical records to state secrets”.

Every encryption system depends on something called the “public key infrastructure” (PKI). According to Mahdi, a quantum computer could crack PKI in a week as opposed to normal computers’ 300 trillion years. Every piece of data on Earth would be exposed as a result, perhaps leading to the “Quantum Apocalypse” or “Q-Day,” namely when anyone with a quantum computer would be able to break the encryption on the internet. The most powerful quantum computer in the world right now, IBM’s Osprey, only has 400 qubits, thus the technology is still in its infancy since breaking bank encryption requires millions or even billions of qubits.

By switching to new “quantum-safe” encryption, companies may defend themselves, according to Mahdi, but they must start preparing this immediately to avoid being caught up in the Q-Day breakdown. As Sectigo says, “Q-Day” may occur in the next 10 to 15 years.

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Drones

In the military field, drones can be perfect killer weapons.

Usually, they are “directed” remotely by pilots, and a human always decides whether to attack or kill. However, the cost of employing expert combat pilots may induce military authorities to move to less expensive autonomous weapons.

An autonomous Turkish Kargu-2 drone was launched by the interim Libyan government in 2020 to attack retreating rebel soldiers in Africa.

According to the study, the lethal autonomous system was designed to work independently “without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true “fire, forget, and find” capability”.

“From a warfare perspective, autonomous drones provide an attractive proposition”, said robotics expert, UK professor Kevin Warwick. “Low intelligence, low tech, low cost but high payload autonomous drones are perhaps the most popular at the moment”.

Technology leaders, including Elon Musk, wrote to the UN in 2017 to ask for the prohibition of autonomous weapons in the same manner that chemical weapons are now. After gunpowder and nuclear weapons, Musk referred to them as “Pandora’s box”, calling it the “third revolution” in warfare.

“Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend”, Musk and his fellow authors warned.

International agreements to restrict their use, however, will be challenging to implement, according to Warwick.

“We could possibly be looking at a network of AI drones with very different tasks”, he said. “Each individual drone might be relatively simple/stupid, but when networked together the overall system is an extremely powerful military machine”.

Nanotechnology

One day, nanotechnology, which manipulates atoms and molecules to accomplish little miracles, may produce tiny machines that completely alter how we live.

Currently, hospitals use silver nanoparticles to help fight infections and magnetic nanoparticles to deliver medications within the body. However, some think that as technology advances, it could be employed to develop lethal weapons. According to a 2008 University of Oxford study, there is a one in 20 probability that nano weapons would wipe out humanity by the end of the twenty-first century.

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These weapons could take the shape of artificially intelligent tiny robots that devour people like a swarm, as suggested in the science fiction novel “Prey” by renowned author Michael Crichton.

Physicist Louis Del Monte writes in his book “Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat to Humanity” about the danger posed by artificially intelligent nanobots that can self-replicate by assembling new copies of themselves and are capable of surveillance and assassination.

“Once released, their mission would be twofold”, he writes, “Kill humans and replicate… 90% of the human race could fall victim to their attacks in a matter of weeks”.

Solar Engineering

A group of cutting-edge technologies known as geoengineering has the potential to alter the environment and partially mitigate some of the effects of climate change.

Traditionally, geoengineering is divided into two broad categories: the first is carbon engineering, sometimes known as Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). The other is solar geoengineering, which is otherwise known as Solar Radiation Management (SRM).

In order to address the primary cause of climate change, the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, carbon geoengineering aims to remove such element.

Solar geoengineering aims to chill the globe by reflecting a tiny portion of sunlight back into space or by increasing the quantity of solar radiation that escapes into space. Solar geoengineering does not address the underlying cause of climate change, in contrast to carbon geoengineering. Instead, it tries to sever the connection between concentrations and temperatures, lessening some climate impacts.

Numerous solar geoengineering techniques have been proposed. These include, among others, stratospheric aerosol scattering, marine cloud brightening, cirrus cloud thinning, and space-based methods.

Tech billionaire Bill Gates, who funded a sizable Harvard study on the viability of using aircraft to travel more than 10 miles into the air to release carbonate dust, which cools the globe, is a supporter of the notion.

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Solar geoengineering, however, could trigger “termination shock”, in which temperatures abruptly rise, resulting in unchecked climate change and unpredictable extreme weather events.

Earlier this year, 60 scientists called for a global commitment to forego solar geoengineering in an open letter that was published in the journal WIREs Climate Change.

“Governments and the United Nations need to take effective political control and restrict the development of solar geoengineering technologies before it is too late”, it stated.

Lifespan Extention

Rich investors have been pouring money into technologies to lengthen human life for years, from PayPal’s Peter Thiel to Google’s Sergei Brin, and this has resulted in some intriguing recent advances.

For example, mice’s bodies have successfully been “rejuvenated”, reversing the aging process in their tissues and extending their lifespan by 30%.

The largest biotechnology launch in history was celebrated by life extension startup Altos Labs earlier this year, which was supported by a $3 billion investment that apparently included funds from Jeff Bezos. Scientists from all around the world are allegedly being recruited by Altos and paid $1 million a year.

According to Juan Carlos Izpisa Belmonte of Altos Labs, pharmacological or genetic therapies may be used to increase human lifespans by up to 50 years.

As explained by Dr. Andrew Steele, author of “Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old“, anti-aging therapy will be a finding on par with that of antibiotics.

This will inevitably cause an upset in society. Will there be overpopulation? And who will benefit from this rejuvenation?

These new technologies along with others will surely change the way we’ll live and improve our life. Anyway, their power could be very risky if used carelessly, not for some, but rather for the whole of humanity. Therefore, we cannot afford to underrate the question, since we know that from the time these possibilities become available they could be used by anyone, even ill-intentioned individuals.