anton_zeilinger's picture
Nobel laureate (2022 - Physics); Physicist, University of Vienna; Scientific Director, Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information; President, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Author, Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Quantum Teleportation

Some day all semiconductors will break down and therefore all computers as, besides historic instruments no computers exist today which are nor based on semiconductor technology. The breakdown will be caused by a giant electromagnetic pulse (EMP) created by a nucler explosion outside Earth's athmosphere. It will cover large areas on Earth up to the size of a continent. Where it will happen is unpredictable. But it will happen since it is exteremely unlikely that we will be able to get rid of all nuclear weapons and the probabilty for it to happen at any given time will never be zero.

The implications of such an event will be enormous. If it happens to one of our technology based societies literally everything will break down. You will realize that none your phones does work. There is no way to find out via the internet what happened. Your car will not start anymore as it is also controlled by computer chips, unless you are lucky to own an antique car. Your local supermarket is unable to get new supplies.There will be no trucks operating anymore, no trains, no elctricity, no water supplies Society will completely break down.

There will be small exceptions in those countries where military equipment has been hardened against EMPs making the army available for emrgency relief. In some countires even some emergency civilian infrastructure has been hardened against EMPs. But these are exceptions as most goverments simply ignore that danger.