Besides the robot apocalypse, there are many other, and often more important, examples of Pascal scams.
The following may be or may have been such poorly evidenced but widely feared or hoped-for extreme consequences (these days the fears seem to predominate):
- That we are currently headed for another financial industry disaster even worse than 2008 (overwrought expectations often take the form of "much like the surprise we most recently experienced, only even more extreme").
- That global warming has caused or will cause disaster X (droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, ...)
- A whole witch's brew of "much like what just happened" fears were the many terrorist disaster fears that sprouted like the plague in the years after 9/11: suitcase nukes, the "ticking-time bomb" excuse for legalizing torture, envelopes filled with mysterious white powders, and on and on.
- On the positive daydream side, Eric Drexler's "molecular nanotechnology" predictions of the 1980s: self-replicating robots, assemblers that could make almost anything, etc. -- a whole new industrial revolution that would make everything cheap. (Instead, it was outsourcing and a high-tech version of t-shirt printing that made many things cheap, and "nanotechnology" became just a cool buzzword to use when talking about chemistry).
- A big hope of some naive young engineers during the previous high oil price era of the late 1970s: solar power satellites made from lunar materials, with O'Neill space colonies to house the workers. Indeed, a whole slew of astronaut voyages and industries in space were supposed to follow after the spectacular (and spectacularly expensive) Apollo moon landings -- a "much like recently experienced, only more so" daydream.
- The "Internet commerce will replace bricks-and-mortar and make all the money those companies were making" ideas that drove the Internet bubble in the late 1990s. Indeed, most or all of the bubbles and depressions in financial markets may be caused by optimistic and pessimistic Pascal fads respectively.
History is replete with many, many more such manias and scares, whether among small groups of otherwise smart people, or among the vast majority of a society. Sometimes poorly evidenced consequences do happen to occur, just in way(s) very different from expected -- for example Columbus, following the advice of well respected authorities like Strabo and Toscanelli
and heading west for India -- ending up instead in America. And sometimes a lucky penny
prophecy of a wonderful or terrible but very unlikely event comes true -- although hardly any of us ever seem to learn about these sage predictions until after the event. Then they only make us believe enough in prophecy that we fall for the next scam.