Kurzgesagt asks is civilisation on the brink of collapse?

19 August 2022

What if a tragedy — something like a full-blown war, or a deadly pandemic akin to the bubonic plague — befell the human race, plunging any survivors into a new dark age? Would they be able to pick up the pieces and (eventually) restore civilisation as we know it? Is such a catastrophe even possible? Kurzgesagt looks at the question.

At its height, the Roman Empire was home to about 30% of the world’s population, and in many ways the pinnacle of human advancement. Rome became the first city in history to reach one million inhabitants and was a center of technological, legal, and economic progress. An empire impossible to topple, stable and rich and powerful. Until it wasn’t anymore. First slowly then suddenly, the most powerful civilization on earth collapsed. If this is how it has been over the ages, what about us today? Will we lose our industrial technology, and with that our greatest achievements, from one dollar pizza to smartphones or laser eye surgery? Will all this go away too?