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...