1970s MIT Computer Model Predicted Societal Collapse By 2040 And Researchers Think It Might Be More Accurate Than First Believed
by Trisha Leigh
There are tons of people (and computers) that have predicted the end of the world, but no one really agrees on when this is going to come to pass.
I mean, it feels like soon though, right?
If you agree, then you might feel validated by this 1970s computer model, which predicted the collapse of society could really be, well, anytime now.
The prediction came from scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and came from compiling data patterns in population, natural resources, and energy uses.
The published their findings in Club of Rome, where they identified “limits to growth” that would surely cause an industrial collapse.
They believed this would happen near the middle of the 21st century – as in, right about now.
Or at least, 17 years from now.
The report was somewhat ridiculed at the time, but since then, a similar study (2009) emerged with similar results.
“It is important to recognize that its predictions have not been invalidated and in fact seem quite on target. We are not aware of any model made by economists that is as accurate over such a long time span.”
What’s more, Dutch sustainability researcher Gaya Herrington also affirmed these predictions as recently as 2021.
“From a research perspective, I felt a data check of a decades-old model against empirical observations would be an interesting exercise.”
She found that the worst case scenario from 1972, which was that economic growth would cease by 2030, with a societal collapse around 2040, is definitely possible.
That said, she also had a bit of reason for hope.
“They key finding of my study is that we still have a choice to align with a scenario that does not end in collapse.
With innovation in business, along with new developments by governments and civil society, continuing to update the model provides another perspective on the challenges and opportunities we have to create a more sustainable world.”
I mean, she said we had a chance, and a choice…
At this point, I’m not feeling all that optimistic that we’re going to make the right one.