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5 Amazing New Inventions (That Will Doom Humanity)

Science is like heroin: It'll give you some of the best and worst times of your life, and occasionally they will be the exact same thing (sure, that body high is amazing, but you'll have to live with the shame of that indecent exposure arrest at the Red Robin for the rest of your life). Here are five inventions that will most likely revolutionize the modern way of life, right before they flush it down the toilet.
#5
Flame Drills

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A man named Jared Potter has recently developed a pair of flame drills that operate at temperatures of 3200 and 7200 degrees, respectively. That's hot enough to pretty well burn through anything, but rather than mounting them on the front of a spike-treaded tank and driving it into the UN to deliver his list of demands, Potter has instead opted to turn the fury of his psycho-drills on the very planet itself. At such high temperatures, the drills are capable of boring through the Earth's crust without ever actually touching the rock itself, thus eliminating the need for replacement drill bits, equipment maintenance and rock cooties.

How This Will Change the World:

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If we're able to cheaply and efficiently burrow deeper into the Earth's crust than ever before, we can tap past the earth's crust to the chewy center, where a sea of molten rock lies waiting to power the flying cars of the future. The chief downside to using all that glowing hot earth juice as an energy source has always been location: If you don't live in a Dr. Evil style volcano base, it just doesn't do you much good. But with these new flame drills, geothermal shafts can be dug anywhere, just like tapping a well. A spurting well of unceasing Hellfire, sure, but a well nonetheless. This could cleanly solve all the world's energy needs and, what's better, we could look fucking hardcore while doing it.

"Just harvesting some fuel."

How This Will End The World:

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What part of superheated hydrogen drill boring into the Earth's core didn't set off an alarm with you? The whole idea reeks of barely veiled supervillainy, but even assuming that Potter has the best of intentions and is not, in fact, hiding a Cobra Commander mask in his back pocket, tapping a geothermal well where there is not already a natural vent brings a few risks along with it: volcanic eruptions, searing magma, earthquakes and crustal instability, to name a few. A volcano's only job is to provide an avenue for magma to exit through - but dramatic eruptions are only caused when that vent is blocked long enough to build up significant pressure. So if anything blocks, interrupts or otherwise interferes with the vent, then you have all the criteria for a volcano. Where's the nearest power plant to your house? Two miles? Five? Now, where's the nearest volcano? Yeah, well, pretty soon you're only going to need to know the one answer.

#4
Warp Drive

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A lot of thought is being poured into new methods of space travel, and what scientists across the globe are discovering is that Star Trek is awesome, so fuck it: We're just going to do that. The term "warp travel" generally refers to a sort of jury-rigged workaround for the physical speed limit set by Einstein's Theory of Relativity, wherein one would propel space itself around a ship rather than power the ship through space. It's basically just exploiting a technical loophole in the universe, allowing us to travel at warp speeds by virtue of being total dicks to physics.

Take that, Physics, take it all!

How This Will Change The World:

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The great thing is that interstellar travel could very well be a possibility, as the fundamentals of a warp drive are being nailed down by some of the brightest minds in the world right now. Truly feasible interstellar travel could well traverse that last great step for humanity: The creation of a global society. There are countless divides between people that allow us to morally separate ourselves from one another. But interstellar travel could not only bring about the usual benefits science fiction promises us, (namely some of that sweet green alien strange) but also the end of all internal Earth conflict. If there are suddenly a billion other accessible galaxies teeming with life, the "us vs. them" mentality gets scaled up accordingly. Now instead of mere interspecies fighting, it's Earth vs. Everybody Else (hey, let's not fool ourselves here: We're always going to bomb the shit out of somebody; interstellar travel just means you're less likely to be related to them).

How This Will End The World:

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The bad news is that it could cause a black hole every time you put key to ignition. A group of scientists in Italy say that the chief design principle of a working warp drive would also be its fatal flaw: A warp engine would work by creating a massive "bubble" of distorting energy behind the ship, but the energy output is so enormous that if it were to run out--like say, when you slow down, park or just run out of gas--the bubble would inevitably collapse on itself, thereby generating massive, sun-like temperatures before folding and creating a black hole. But hey, you've still got that engine! You can run away from it at warp speed!

...Unlike the solar system you're launching from.

"Boy, space sure was fun. Whelp, time to go."

So sure, you may be able to travel to new galaxies and meet fascinating alien civilizations, but you'll be burning those bridges right behind you--along with the rest of their entire planet. We guess as long as you don't give a shit about the sanctity of alien life, and never plan on returning home, you can burn your way through the universe with your jerk-drive all you want. Jerk.

#3
Artificial Brain

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Artificial Intelligence is a staple of science fiction thrillers--from HAL 9000 to Wargames. The second we established the concept of AI, we pretty much knew that it would hate us with an undying passion. Perhaps we just have collective self-esteem issues; no sci-fi masterpiece depicts an AI that, upon coming online and searching its database in an effort to better understand mankind, responds by shouting, "You guys are awesome! We should get nachos!"

So clearly, creating conventional AI sounds risky; we're naturally assuming hatred and villainy will be an unintentional byproduct. But what happens if you instead simulate a human brain, with the same moral equilibrium, emotions and reactions we possess?

It's not that far-fetched: Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, claims that scientists will most likely perfect the artificial human brain in the next decade. They've already got the first elements of an artificial rat brain nailed down which, incidentally, might explain why the Internet keeps hissing at us and scurrying into the corner.

How This Will Change The World:

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At his presentation at the TED Global Conference, Markram spoke of such virtues as the ability to solve philosophical questions that have been plaguing mankind (or at least former psychology majors who couldn't hack the bio requirements) for centuries, a greater understanding of how to treat mental impairments and even the elimination of pharmaceutical drug experimentation on humans. It makes sense, doesn't it? If there's an accurate simulacrum of a human brain on your laptop that's perfectly capable of telling you that these virtual blue pills cause it to see screaming and have trapped it in a shame cube, why bother putting actual test subjects through the same torture?

How This Will End The World:

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People are emotional, unpredictable and capable of great cruelty. Now take away all physical pleasure and/or consequences and find out how it reacts.

If you can't imagine such horrors, don't worry because we've already started doing that: It's called the Internet.

Thanks to the web, we don't connect with each other physically as often as we used to and, as a side effect, we've seen an increase in rage, frustration and loneliness. Apparently, physical proximity is the only thing keeping empathy alive. Of course, this version of a virtual brain wouldn't possess the same worrying super-intelligence that we've been worrying about in our sci-fi, but really, is that comforting? After all, it's rarely the learned scholars who kill you for a hot dog and act surprised when they get the death penalty.

#2
Love/Anti-Love Pill

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An American neuroscientist named Larry Young, of the Emory University School of Medicine, is operating under the theory that love is a chemical state like any other, and can be controlled as such. His research into prairie voles has shown that lifelong mating can be triggered, prolonged or even blocked by altering the level of certain chemicals in their brains. By injecting various levels of oxytocin intoa female prairie vole's brain, Young was able to get the animal--a notoriously, fiercely monogamous creature--to immediately drop her current lifelong mate and bond, just as permanently, to the nearest male instead. In addition to officially using science for the saddest thing ever (crushing the hearts of adorable rodents), Young has also stumbled onto something potentially world-changing, because oxytocin has already shown similar effects in human patients.

How This Will Change The World:

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How much tragedy has been caused by irreparable heartbreak? How many suicides were triggered by the lasting pain of shattered or just unrequited love? What if you could just turn off the heartbreak with a pill? Or, conversely, what if you could hook up with the first person you see, roll on down to the neighborhood Walgreen's for your love-pills, and then experience the same euphoria as Romeo and Juliet, no matter what your prior feelings? Control over one of our strongest emotions could eliminate half of the world's untimely deaths, from lover's quarrels to suicides, thus changing the very face of society. Also, emo bands would probably shut up, so that's a clear win.

How This Will End The World:

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From an objective standpoint, love kind of sucks. Taking a pre-emptive pill to shut it down rather than risk experiencing heartache in the first place seems pretty tempting. The reason most people find love is that they seek it; they crave the experience even when there's no one there to experience it with. But if the whole need could be done away with from the start, maybe we could finally get some shit done. You want to get ahead at work? Well, having a family takes up valuable time, doesn't it? Anti-love pill. You want to watch the big game, but it's the mandated Sunday afternoon snuggle? Anti-love pill. Your kid's got a big game coming up that a good parent should really attend, but you kind of want to live a life of ceaseless adventure where every night is a guilt-free fuck-party? Anti-love pill!

Sure, a life actively avoiding love sounds lonely, but that's only from the standpoint of a person who is still capable of experiencing it. Who needs a loving, stable family unit or, for that matter, procreation in general, when World of Warcraft just released the long-awaited Ice Elf Orgy Expansion Pack?

#1
Computer Assisted Memory

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Computer assisted memory is a recent goal, in that the very idea itself didn't crop up until we started pretty much practicing it anyway. We started uploading family photos to Flickr and burning our home movies to DVD and now that we've pretty much started doing it already, we want to go farther. From the still far-off goal of silicon enhanced artificial neurons, to the shaky present-day experiments already underway that simply photograph your days and archive them in searchable databases - computer assisted memory, in one shape or another, is going to happen.

How This Will Change The World:

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What if you could remember everything? No foreign language would ever get rusty, no keys would ever be lost, no anniversary would ever be forgotten and hastily covered for by purchasing last minute gifts at the gas station. That could all happen with the complete archival of actual memories on an external system. Just imagine it: Terrabytes of storage, and nothing ever forgotten. Wisdom, after all, is little more than the possession of a larger database of memories from which to draw, so picture a world where simply purchasing a new hard drive puts you on par with the Dalai Llama. With an archival memory system, even death wouldn't be the end; your every thought and memory could be accessed by anybody, anywhere, forever. You could have Einstein on a thumb drive to browse through when bored. No genius, artist or visionary would ever be truly lost again.

How This Will End The World:

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"Damn.

Where did I put my keyring? That had my flashdrive on it with 2017. That was the year I moved into my new house.

And... oh, goddammit. That was also the year I started using the artificial memory system - that was the year I chose the password...

Goddammit! Joni! Joni have you seen my keyring?

J-Joni? Wait, where's my house? Why am I living at the YMCA? Am I divorced?"

With an artificial memory system, one unlucky day turns you into the guy from Memento, and since we lost the hard drive that remembers pop culture references for us, we're pretty sure that guy turned out just fine--so everything's cool, homey!

Want to be Internet famous? Cracked can help! Just go here and sign up. No experience necessary.See what other experiments science is conducting that Brockway thinks will destroy us, in The 5 Current Genetic Experiments Most Likely to Destroy Humanity. Or check out how science is trying to turn our lives into a Marvel movie, in 5 Superpowers Science Will Give Us in Our Lifetime.And swing by our Top Picks to see us trying to wrestle Swaim away from the office's new flame drill.Don't forget to follow us on Twitter to get previews of upcoming articles and trick your friends into thinking you're psychic.


You can pre-order Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead on Amazon, or find him on Twitter, Facebook and his own site, I Fight Robots because he's such a ray of goddamn sunshine!

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