The world will end on Nov. 13, 2026. That’s according to Austrian cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster, who calculated in a 1960 issue of Science that the human population would reach infinity on that date.
He was joking, but he had a point. To date, population growth hasn’t really inhibited human societies. They’ve just created technology to support larger crowds, which have spawned more inventors, who create more technology, and so on.
Von Foerster’s equation fit 25 data points from the birth of Jesus to 1958, and it stayed on track through 1973. His point was that the doubling time of the human population has been steadily falling, and at this rate it would reach zero in 2026 — so a fundamental change, of some kind, must be coming.