Photo credit: BBC/LAURENCE CENDROWICZ/Mentorn
By Ian Sample
The human race faces one its most dangerous centuries yet as progress in science and technology becomes an ever greater threat to our existence, Stephen Hawking warns.
The chances of disaster on planet Earth will rise to a near certainty in the next one to ten thousand years, the eminent cosmologist said, but it will take more than a century to set up colonies in space where human beings could live on among the stars.
“We will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period,” Hawking said. His comments echo those of Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, who raised his own concerns about the risks of self-annihilation in his 2003 book Our Final Century.
Speaking to the Radio Times ahead of the BBC Reith Lecture, in which he will explain the science of black holes, Hawking said most of the threats humans now face come from advances in science and technology, such as nuclear weapons and genetically engineered viruses.
“We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we must recognise the dangers and control them,” he added.
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