by Paul Ratner
human civilization would end.
In 1973, a computer program was developed at MIT
to model global sustainability. Instead, it
predicted that by 2040 our civilization would
Many in history have made apocalyptic
predictions that have so far failed to
But what the computer envisioned in the 1970s
has by and large been coming true. Could the
machine be right?
program was created
The prediction, which recently re-appeared in Australian media, was
made by a program dubbed World One.
It was originally created
by the computer pioneer Jay Forrester, who was commissioned
by the Club of Rome to model how well the world could sustain its
The Club of Rome is an organization
...with the mission to,
understanding of the global challenges facing humanity and to
propose solutions through scientific analysis, communication,
Computer predicts the end of civilization
In 1973, Australia's largest computer
predicted trends such as pollution levels,
population growth, availability of natural
resources and quality of life on earth.
ABC's 'This Day Tonight' aired this story on
9 November, 1973
MIT Computer Model Predicts
Dramatic Drop in Quality of Life Around 2020
End of Civilization Around
What World One showed was that by 2040 there would be a
global collapse if the expansion of the population and industry
was to continue at the current levels.
reported by the Australian
broadcaster ABC, the model's calculations took into account trends
The model's predictions
for the worsening quality of life and the dwindling natural
resources have so far been unnervingly on target.
In fact, 2020 is the first milestone envisioned by World One.
That's when the quality of life is supposed to drop dramatically.
The broadcaster presented
this scenario (above video) that will lead to the demise of large
numbers of people:
"At around 2020, the
condition of the planet becomes highly critical.
If we do nothing
about it, the quality of life goes down to zero. Pollution
becomes so seriously it will start to kill people, which in turn
will cause the population to diminish, lower than it was in the
At this stage, around
2040 to 2050, civilized life as we know it on this planet will
cease to exist."
the then-leader of the Club of Rome, evaluated the program's results
to also mean that nation-states will lose their sovereignty,
New World Order with
corporations managing everything...
nations is no longer absolute," King told ABC. "There is a
gradual diminishing of sovereignty, little bit by little bit.
Even in the big nations, this will happen."
How did the
World One, the computer program, looked at the world as one
The report called it,
"an electronic guided
tour of our behavior since 1900 and where that behavior will
The program produced
graphs that showed what would happen to the planet decades into the
future. It plotted statistics and forecasts for such variables as
population, quality of life, the supply of natural resources,
pollution, and more.
Following the trend
lines, one could see where the crises might take place.
Can we stave
As one measure to prevent catastrophe, the Club of Rome predicted
some nations like the U.S. would have to cut back on their appetites
for gobbling up the world's resources.
It hoped that in the
future world, prestige would stem from "low consumption" - one fact
that has so far not materialized.
Currently, nine in ten
people around the world breathe air that has high levels of
according to data from the World Health Organization
The agency estimates that
7 million deaths each year can be
attributed to pollution...