Scientists have used a computer to predict when society will end - and it looks like there's not long left if their calculations are to be believed.
Now, as with any prediction or hypothesis, its outcome will remain to be seen, but a team of scientists once made a very bleak prediction of what life will look like in the future.
Since the dawn of technology, scientists have used it to try and predict what the future will look like, as well as to ensure we can take steps to prevent major issues such as the effects of climate change on the environment.
But what will happen to society as we know it? Well, if this particular prediction is to be believed, it could come crashing down in 2040 - just 17 years' time.
Back in the 1970s, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looked at data patterns factoring in a variety of different things such as natural resources and energy usage as well as population to model what society would look like in the future.
They used computer modeling to make their analysis, which was published by Club of Rome, and pointed out "limits to growth" which would cause an industrial collapse, meaning society would also fall near the middle of the 21st century.
While most would hope that life would only continue to improve and become more efficient with the wealth of technological advances that have happened over the years, these scientists gave a much bleaker outlook.
They predicted that in just 17 years' time from now, in 2040, society would collapse.
While the report was ridiculed at the time, according to reports by The Guardian, similar results were produced by another team of researchers doing a similar study in 2009.
The newer report, which was published by American Scientist, revealed that the outcome was "almost exactly on course some 35 years later in 2008 (with a few appropriate assumptions)".
The study added: "It is important to recognize 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."
Dutch sustainability researcher Gaya Herrington also told The Guardian in 2021 that the outlook was "bleak", explaining her reasons for revisiting the study from the 1970s: "From a research perspective, I felt a data check of a decades-old model against empirical observations would be an interesting exercise."
She found that the data corresponded with the initial predictions made in 1972, which predicted that the worst-case scenario would be economic growth coming to a halt at the end of the current decade and collapsing 10 years later.
However, with all this knowledge under our belts, Herrington is optimistic that the worst scenario can be avoided with appropriate action.
Herrington explained: "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."
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