Why Asimov's Three Laws Of Robotics Can't Protect Us

It's been 50 years since Isaac Asimov devised his famous Three Laws of Robotics — a set of rules designed to ensure friendly robot behavior. Though intended as a literary device, these laws are heralded by some as a ready-made prescription for avoiding the robopocalypse. We spoke to the experts to find out if Asimov's… » 3/28/14 9:00am 3/28/14 9:00am

Could a juiced-up particle accelerator destroy the Earth?

One of the world's largest particle colliders is about to undergo upgrades that will make it considerably more powerful than it is now. The ensuing experiments will once again take us into uncharted scientific waters, prompting critics to warn of a potential catastrophe — one powerful enough to destroy our entire… » 2/13/14 9:00am 2/13/14 9:00am

Can we build an artificial superintelligence that won't kill us?

At some point in our future, an artificial intelligence will emerge that's smarter, faster, and vastly more powerful than us. Once this happens, we'll no longer be in charge. But what will happen to humanity? And how can we prepare for this transition? We spoke to an expert to find out. » 1/15/14 11:41am 1/15/14 11:41am

Yes, One Person Could Actually Destroy the World

Apocalyptic weapons are currently the domain of world powers. But this is set to change. Within a few decades, small groups — and even single individuals — will be able to get their hands on any number of extinction-inducing technologies. As shocking as it sounds, the world could be destroyed by a small team or a… » 11/25/13 11:27am 11/25/13 11:27am

Astronomers discover a massive asteroid that could hit us in 2032

Mark August 26th, 2032 on your calendar, folks. Ukrainian astronomers have just detected a 1,350-foot-wide (410 meter) minor planet that’s headed our way. The impact risk is minimal, but it’s now the most serious near-term celestial threat to face our planet. » 10/17/13 9:00am 10/17/13 9:00am

Are we screwing ourselves by transmitting radio signals into space?

For nearly a hundred years, Earth has sent radio signals into space. If anyone nearby is listening, they probably know we’re here. In light of this, a new paper assesses the potential danger presented by such signals, concluding that the benefits outweigh the risks. But how can we really know? » 5/07/13 2:02pm 5/07/13 2:02pm

Science fiction authors decide: Is artificial intelligence a threat to …

Prompted by a recent article in Aeon Magazine warning of the threat posed by advanced artificial intelligence, Kristin Centorcelli of SF Signal put together an impressive panel of renowned science fiction authors to get their opinions on the subject. » 4/11/13 2:20pm 4/11/13 2:20pm

Watch George Dvorsky and Nick Bostrom talking live about risks to the…

Put your doomsday caps on, everyone. Starting tonight at 9pm EST (6pm PST) to 10pm EST (7pm PST), I'll be on Huffington Post Live talking about existential risks to the future of humanity. I'll be joined by Nick Bostrom of the Future of Humanity Institute, James Hughes from the Institute for Ethics and Emerging… » 2/26/13 5:30pm 2/26/13 5:30pm

Could nuclear disarmament actually increase our chance of an…

Most everyone agrees that humanity needs to get rid of its nuclear weapons. It's only through complete relinquishment that we can eliminate the threat of deliberate or accidental nuclear war and the ongoing problem of proliferation. But at the same time, a strong case can be made that these apocalyptic weapons have… » 12/18/12 11:30am 12/18/12 11:30am

9 Ways Humanity Could Bring About Its Own Destruction

It won't be because of a Maya prophesy, but humanity may actually meet its doom someday. There is no shortage of threats from the natural world, including asteroid impacts and the eruption of supervolcanoes. But who needs natural disasters when you've got human ingenuity? Here are the top nine ways humanity could… » 12/12/12 10:02am 12/12/12 10:02am

Could we deflect an incoming asteroid by bombarding it with paintballs?

What would be a way to deflect asteroid Apophis if it gets a little too close for comfort in 2029 or 2036? Pew-pew it with 5 tons of white paintballs. Not only would the multiple mini impacts bump the asteroid off course, but the white paint would cover the surface and reflect more sunlight, and over time, the… » 10/26/12 3:00pm 10/26/12 3:00pm

The Astronomer Royal tells io9 how he plans to save humanity from…

Back in 2003, the preeminent physicist and cosmologist Sir Martin Rees created a considerable stir with the publication of his book, Our Final Hour, a look into how "terror, error, and environmental disaster threaten humankind's future". Rees argued that we've grossly underestimated the potential risks posed by modern… » 7/09/12 11:22am 7/09/12 11:22am

Does a galaxy filled with habitable planets mean humanity is doomed?

Last week, we reported on the astounding confirmation that all solar systems in the Galaxy probably have planets, and that Earthlike planets are more common than previously thought. While this seems like good news for SETI-enthusiasts, the revelation is actually quite disturbing. » 6/18/12 2:20pm 6/18/12 2:20pm