The Mayan Apocalypse of 2012 has passed without incident, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet. Mankind is set to expire yet again with an all-new Y2K-esque end of the world scenario, but, luckily, we won’t be around to see it.
Unix, which powers most computing systems, actually has an expiration date. When it reaches critical mass, it’ll take humanity out along with it. This means that the world will definitively end … wait for it … 300 billion years from now.
Gizmodo reports that under current operating systems, that time is when “the Unix time stamp will exceed the largest value that can be held in a signed 64-bit integer.” English? The system that powers banks, medical life support systems, electric grids, satellites, and the sewage-processing conglomerate Reddit will finally give out.
Chances are, humanity, even the earth itself, won’t even be around at that time. First, we have the death of the sun to worry about in roughly 7,900,000,000 years. At that time, our nearest star will reach maximum diameter as a Red Giant and will destroy Mercury, Venus, and probably the Earth as well.
Until that time, we only have rogue meteors, solar flares, biological warfare, the potential threat of intergalactic invasion and war, and the return of Jesus Christ to contend with. We might circumvent some of these outcomes by colonizing our Milky Way at any point between 100,000 to 1 million years from now, and a new computing infrastructure may rise to take Unix’s place, but we as a species can only survive under the current status quo for another 300 billion years.
“In the meantime, synchronize your watches for Dec. 4, 292,277,026,596. At 15:30 Coordinated Universal Time. And, OK, 8 seconds. If you want to be exact,” deadpans MSN Now.