Technology has provided mankind with countless benefits. It has helped us research diseases, work more efficiently, and it allows us to communicate with people all over the world. However, technology can be catastrophic if it’s misused. Most of the near-disasters documented in this infographic would’ve led to nuclear war if they’d come to fruition. In 1961, U.S. nuclear radar detection systems went off, prompting the U.S. to prepare for a nuclear strike against Russia. However, this was a false alarm caused by an overheated relay system.
The next year, a similar snafu during the Cuban Missile Crisis resulted in the wrong alarm being set off, and it could’ve started World War III. And in 1979, the U.S. and Russia were at it again — this time fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan, South America and southern Africa. A technician accidentally played footage of a nuclear attack simulation, causing U.S. officials to think they were under nuclear attack.
The only non-nuclear near-catastrophe was related to bacteria engineered to turn food waste into fuel, but the bacteria killed every plant it came in contact with. This was only caught in a test conducted by Oregon State University. Had this not been detected, there’s a good chance we’d all be dead now. For other end-of -orld scenarios, check out our infographic here.