That’s it. We’re cooked. Stephen Hawking says humans are going to hell in a handbasket and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Our generation’s Einstein is once again predicting a terribly grim future for planet Earth. Hawking warns that we, the people -- the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad humans thrashing the third rock from the sun -- must abandon ship and escape to space.
"Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years,” Hawking said during his recent BBC Reith Lecture, which airs on Jan. 26. "By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.”
Our home’s demise, he said, will be precipitated by catastrophes of our own making, including nuclear war, genetically engineered viruses and global warming. The pioneering new technologies we create -- such as artificial intelligence, if left unchecked -- will also contribute to Earth’s undoing, leading to “new ways things can go wrong.” New, very scary ways, if we’re to believe Hawking and fellow doomsdayer geniuses beating the same drum, including Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak.
If we have any hope of saving ourselves, we’d better get busy and fast. According to Hawking’s forecast, it’ll take at least a century before we figure out how to survive in the great beyond. That’s not much time.
"We will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next 100 years,” he said, “so we have to be very careful in this period."