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6 threats that could wipe out mankind, warn researchers

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LONDON — Scientists have identified six main threats that could wipe out mankind including killer robots and nuclear war.

They may sound like something from a Hollywood blockbusters – but researchers say they are “very real threats” that governments are failing to take seriously.

The Global Catastrophic Risks report lists dangers that could wipe out 10 percent or more of the world’s population – equal to at least 740million people.

The authors – including academics from Oxford University and the Global Priorities Project – point to the bouts of plague and the 1918 Spanish flu that wiped out millions.

The researchers claim engineered viruses, climate change, superbugs and droughts could also strike within the next five years.

They also warn that while the majority of generations never experience a catastrophe, they are far from ‘fanciful’.

The report says: “Plagues have killed over 10 per cent of world’s population and we came close to nuclear war several times in the 20th century.

“A global catastrophic risk not only threatens everyone alive today, but also future generations.”

The report calls for more funding, research and greater international cooperation to ensure the world is better placed to cope with the risks.

Sebastian Farquhar, from the Global Priorities Project, said: “There are some things that are on the horizon and things that probably won’t happen in any one year but could happen. They could completely reshape our world and do so in a really devastating and disastrous way.”

“History teaches us that many of these things are more likely than we intuitively think.”

In the next five years, asteroids, super-volcanic eruptions and other unknown risks are ranked as the biggest threat to humanity.

Mr Farquhar said: “There is really no particular reason to think that humans are the pinnacle of creation and the best thing that is possible to have in the world. It seems conceivable that some AI systems might at some point in the future be able to systematically out-compete humans.”

“And if you have a sufficiently powerful form of artificially intelligent system, then there might be some sort of adverse consequences.”

Mr Farquhar warned militant groups like Islamic State may even manufacture their own viruses.

The report calls for the international community to improve planning for pandemics, investigate the possible risks of AI and biotechnology, and continue to cut the number of nuclear weapons.

Mr Farquhar said coping with these risks “definitely requires international co-ordination”.

“What is really important to remember is that many of these risks don’t stop at the borders and wait patiently for their passports to be checked, they are truly global in nature,” he added.

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CCTV cameras lying idle

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BETRAWATI— The CCTV cameras installed at main market area and road side of Bidur Municipality in Nuwakot are lying idle.

As many as 25 sets of CCTV which were installed on the initiative of Nuwakot Chamber of Commerce and Industry are now dysfunctional.

The cameras were set up at the cost of Rs 3.5 million. The concerned side has not paid any attention to repair the cameras in the public which were helpful in maintaining security in the areas.

Right now almost all the CCTVs installed in the public places are not in functioning condition, said Basanta Kunwar, Superintendant of Police.

The cameras were installed a year ago in collaboration among the Nuwakot District Development Committee, Bidur Municipality, different banks and financial institutions.

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