The world didn’t end last Friday just like the world didn’t end in the year 2000, with failing computers deleting bank accounts and crashing aeroplanes. That doesn’t mean the world isn’t going to end. It will. And if we keep our current operating systems, this is the exact date when all goes poof: 15:30:08 UTC on December 4th of the Year of Our Lord 292,277,026,596.
That’s when “the Unix time stamp will exceed the largest value that can be held in a signed 64-bit integer.” Unix is what powers most of the computing systems that are vital for human life on Earth, from banks to medical life support systems to electric grids to satellites to the internet. And your iPhone and Android phone too.
Of course, none of the crap today will ever reach the year 292,277,026,596. Not because you forgot to put on that stupid case on your phone but because Earth may not be around by then. The Sun would have destroyed it about 7,900,000,000 years from now. That’s when our home star will reach its maximum diameter as a Red Dwarf, destroying Mercury, Venus and, most probably, Earth.
However, don’t worry about that End of the World either. Theoretically, we will be long gone by then, according to the futuristic theories by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. He says that, about 100,000 years to 1 million years from now, Humanity will be a Type III civilization on the Kardashev scale. That means that our civilisation will be “capable of interstellar travel, interstellar communication, galactic engineering and galaxy-scale influence.” And in five to 50 million years humans will colonize the entire Milky Way, even if we never achieve faster-than-light interstellar travel capabilities.
At that point we will be able to harness the entire energy of the galaxy and your smartphone will still be ticking thanks to its little Unix heart.
So the Y292,277,026K will be real at one point. Perhaps we would have abandoned Unix at that point, but you never know. It was invented 43 years ago and it’s still the best, most solid operating system ever created. Good enough to survive the entire Universe according to the Big Rip theory, which predicts everything will be over when the Universe reaches an infinite scale 20 billion years from now.
But then again, if the Chandra X-ray Observatory — powered by Unix! — is correct about the speed in which galaxy clusters are moving away from us, the universe will not end then but much, much later.
Not that you or I will be around to see any of this, anyway. So — whatevs! Back to reading random Wikipedia pages out of pure boredom. [Timeline of the Far Future]