AI reimagines Toronto via the climate crisis as a Dune-like universe and its scary

The climate crisis is hitting hard in locations around the world, and although Toronto has been spared for now, a new series of images shows a worst-case scenario with the city reimagined as part of the Dune world.

The recent sequel to Dune has grossed nearly USD 500 million globally, but a recent study shows that people may be less interested in the movie’s striking desert visuals, and more about what the science-fiction flick represents (namely, a world impacted by climate change).

TikTok searches around Dune: Part Two and climate change have spiked 7,700% in just 30 days, according to a new study by Top10Casinos.ca.  In the past month, TikTok searches around the movie’s desert-like filming locations have increased 141%, while queries related to ‘climate crisis 2024’ have spiked 3,100% on the social media platform.

According to the United Nations, desertification—the transformation of fertile land into desert—is a pressing issue. The global agency warns that it will threaten the livelihoods of over 3.2 billion people globally. Google search trends also highlight the growing concern, with searches for “when does climate change turn violent?” surging 2,000% in the 12 months.

Canada may be particularly at risk—since 1950, winter temperatures have increased by over 3°C, outpacing global warming by a factor of three. To help visualise the effects of climate change, Top10Casinos.ca used AI tools to highlight the seven cities most at risk of desertification as if they were in the Dune universe—and Toronto topped the list.

AI version of Toronto in Dune

“Toronto, once known for its predictable seasons, is grappling with the impacts of climate change. The city is experiencing a rise in average temperatures, leading to more frequent and intense heat waves that strain infrastructure and threaten public health,” the study states. “Winters are becoming shorter and less severe, with unpredictable precipitation patterns bringing both heavier downpours that overwhelm storm drains and periods of drought that stress green spaces and water resources.”

Las Vegas, Nevada, came in second place, with the study noting that the average summertime temperatures in Las Vegas have increased by 5.8°C over the last half century, ranking as the second fastest-warming city in the U.S., below Reno.

New York City ranked third, with data showing that the city could see temperatures jump 4.7°C by the 2030s—nearly double the historical warming rate. This, along with intense droughts, could result in a hotter, drier New York with potential water shortages and agricultural issues.

In fourth place is Dubai. The study notes that rising desertification threatens ecosystems and food supply in Dubai, as 80% of the United Arab Emirates is already desert, with no natural primary forests.

Barcelona, Spain, ranks fifth and Madrid, Spain ranks sixth. According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, 75% of Spain’s land is battling climatic conditions that could lead to desertification. In the next decade, Barcelona will face increasing risks from extreme heat, reduced water availability, and more flooding. Unchecked emissions could push Madrid’s climate towards that of present-day Marrakesh by 2050.

Sydney, Australia, rounds out the top 7 list, with the study noting that, by 2100, summer temperatures could surge by a significant 2.6°C, transforming Sydney’s climate into something similar to present-day Papua New Guinea.

To conduct their methedology, Top10Casinos researched what cities were most at risk of desertification; they then input these cities into into Bing’s Image Creator AI generation tool using a specific prompt to make the images look like a Dune landscape.

Top10Casinos also presented visuals of what Vancouver, Montreal, and Niagara Falls could look like with ‘Dune-Ification’—each city shows high rises or large structures surrounded by arid desert landscapes.