ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

Some of my favorite movies deal with a very grim subject matter: the end of the world. Films have shown us that there are all kinds of things that can go horribly wrong with this little planet we call home, but there are a few places in the real world that offer glimpses into where and how these disasters could kick off.

This is a light-hearted look into some scientific advances and creepy settings, you guys, so don't panic... yet...

1. BSL-4 Facilities, all over the world

Type of Apocalypse: mutated pathogen outbreak

As Seen In: Resident Evil

Facts: A BioSafety Level 4 facility handles the deadliest and most high-risk virus cells and pathogens, requiring great care and security to avert a large-scale biological disaster. There are 15 such facilities in the USA.

2. The Fish Kingdom, Bangkok

Type of Apocalypse: a flooded planet

As Seen In: Waterworld

Facts: Photographer Jesse Rockwell was amazed when he stumbled across an the abandoned shopping mall - creepily named 'New World' - that had been overrun with fish following flooding. The quietly occupied structure bears a striking resemblance to a future best avoided for humanity...

3. The Nuclear Fall-out Zone, Pripyat, Ukraine

Type of Apocalypse: Humanity struggles to rebuild after nuclear war

As Seen In: Star Trek: First Contact

Facts: The small town of Pripyat housed over 50,000 people before the meltdown of the nearby nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, 1986. Since then, the once vibrant town provides an eerie glimpse of what the Earth could be like after a global nuclear disaster.

4. IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, NY

Type of Apocalypse: Intelligent machines rise up and take over

As Seen In: Terminator

Facts: Developments in AI are getting incredibly advanced and, while they potentially help people, Kevin Kelly notes the dangers of equipping these machines with conscious thought:

As AIs develop, we might have to engineer ways to prevent consciousness in them—and our most premium AI services will likely be advertised as consciousness-free.

5. Oxford Center for Neuroethics, England

Type of Apocalypse: Behavorially modified humans turn against each other

As Seen In: Serenity

Facts: Scientists have been working on pills to increase 'moral behavior,' to prevent criminal thoughts before they turn to actions... This all seems like a good idea, until Serenity happens and people either become so placid they wither and die, or so aggressive they become roving rape-hungry Reavers roaming the galaxy for prey...


Which apocalyptic scenario do you find the most frightening?

Sources: Popular Mechanics, The Atlantic, Wired, The Guardian


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