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7 Incidences Where Technology Nearly Destroyed Mankind


It is obvious that technology has come with numerous benefits. People have used it in various fields to improve efficiency and save time. Technology has helped remove geographical barriers.

You can easily communicate with people all over the world.

However, despite all the benefits, technology can be disastrous if not properly used.  Most of the incidences I will discuss in this article could have resulted in nuclear war. Fortunately, they were addressed on time.

1. Mechanical Failure by a Single Switch In November 1961

The November 1961 incidence almost resulted in a war between the US and Russia. The incidence happened after Strategic Air Command Headquarters (SACHQ) couldn’t communicate with the Thule station. SAC also failed to reach NORAD HQ in Colorado. The line was reported dead.

The chances for technical malfunction were minute. It was at all cost an unlikely coincidence under natural circumstances.  The only probable cause could be an attack.

SAC force was prepared for a take-off. However, it was sooner communicated by an already-overhead aircraft that there were no signs of an attack.

Later, it was confirmed that there were communication problems in Colorado. A single relay station had failed, leading to the communication problem. The failed switch at the station had managed to shut down all communications. These included the emergency hotlines that NORAD, Thule, and SAC were using.

In this incidence, technology had signaled a false alarm of an attack

2. Missile Crisis in Cuba

A curious bear almost marked the beginning of World War III in October 1962. The bear was mistaken for an intruder, causing a false alarm. A guard saw the shadow of the bear and concluded it was a Soviet saboteur attempting to climb the fence.

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The guard had shot at the figure after spotting it. This led to the activation of the sabotage alarm. Consequently, an order was executed to the pilots to activate their interceptors… the nuclear-armed F-106A.

It was however detected to be a false alarm.

Here, technology was at a blink of destroying the world. It has gone down in history that the Cuban Missile Crisis was possibly the closest ever experienced.

3. An almost Actualization of a Training Drill 

In November 1979, computers at NORAD HQ gave a false signal of missile attacks. The warnings were that Soviet submarines had launched nuclear missiles. The victim was the US.

The report was communicated to SAC. Immediately after the alert, US missile crews were on guard ready to retaliate. Nuclear bombers were prepared for a take-off.

There were six minutes of tension. The US military was certain of a Soviet missile attack. But satellites soon helped to confirm that no attack was underway.

This is another incidence where technology could have caused a nuclear war. This could have happened because of a technician mistake. He had inserted a training tape in the computers, initiating the false alarm. 

4. Failure of a Low-Priced Computer Chip In June 1980

A cheaply priced computer chip failed to perform effectively causing an error. The faulty device was the cause of a false alarm to the US. The tension was all over, beating the armed forces pants down.

The signal showed that 2 missiles had been launched. And another 200 were underway. This was obviously not a laughing matter for the US government.

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Luckily, it was confirmed in good time to be a false alarm. The false alarm had already made the nuclear bomber crew start their engine.

The incidence made the US government plan for the launch of the Pacific Airborne Command Post to curb such attacks if they ever happen.

5. Marking of The Biggest Gamble In History By a Soviet Colonel 

In September 1983, a newly developed and launched system created a false alarm in Russia. The system that used satellite signaled a missile attack.

The new technology was more accurate than the methods used previously.

When the new system gave a missile warning, the commanding officer didn’t inform his superiors. It could’ve resulted in a retaliatory attack if he did. His decision was marked as the biggest gamble.

His argument was, despite the sign by the system that they were under missile attack, it wasn’t so obvious to him. No nation could’ve used 5 missiles in an attack.

Later, the false alarm was confirmed. The new system had erroneously detected sunlight that reflected on top of clouds as missiles. Consequently, raising a false alarm.

6. June 1992 Threat of a Genetically Modified Bacteria

The noble intention behind the technology was to turn food waste into fuel. A European biotech firm came up with a bacterium that was to produce ethanol using food waste. And the leftovers were to be used as fertilizers.

Environmental Protection Agency in the USA had confirmed the bacterium as being environmentally friendly. And wasn’t hazardous to humans.

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Testing of the bacteria in a real-world scenario confirmed the technology to be harmful. If it was released prior to this test, it could have destroyed all plants worldwide. This could have led to the destruction of all kinds of vegetation, making the world habitable.

7. January 1995 Nuclear Worries

Norway had communicated to 35 nations concerning its intended experiments. These included Russia. The Ministry for Defence in Russia had unfortunately not communicated the news to warning personnel.

Norway aim was to study the northern lights using a rocket. When the Norwegian scientists launched the rocket, it caused the technology effects that almost triggered the IIIrd world war.

Russians had perceived the rocket to be American Trident nuclear missile. The satellite strike also had a similar trajectory path to that of the US missile.

The incidence left the Russian government in a delicate situation. It was planning a retaliation process. In about 10 minutes, Russia was armed fully. Its main mission at the time could have been led to the end of the world; in a burning ‘flame ball’ of death.

7 Incidences Where Technology Nearly Destroyed Mankind


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