Hawking: It's Space Or Bust For Humanity

| 9 Aug 2010 00:30

Stephen Hawking thinks if the human race can survive for just a couple more centuries, we might be okay.

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking thinks a lot about the survival of the human race. Even if his vision of humanity's end at the hands of aliens doesn't come to pass, he thinks it's probably still going to happen due to ourselves. However, Hawking believes we only need to survive another 200 years, and then we'll be able to "spread into space."

Talking to BigThink, Hawking said: "If we can avoid danger for the next two centuries, our species should be safe as we spread into space." Due to humanity's genetic code holding what he calls "selfish and aggressive instincts" which create a "great danger for the human race," we'll probably nuke ourselves into oblivion if we don't get off this rock as soon as possible.

He uses the Cuban Missile Crisis as an example of a near-miss. However, he thinks "the frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future" and that we'll need "great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully." So how will we survive? "The future is in space," he says.

"I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space," Hawking said. "It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let's hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load."

He didn't say where we're all exactly supposed to go, or how we'll avoid fighting over those areas too, but seems pretty confident that space is the answer. The key term here I think is "spread," meaning that he believes we'll be able to go to many, many different places other than Earth. Kind of like how you can lock yourself in a room with headphones on to play World of Warcraft or Call of Duty if the family is having a dinner party. The difference in that situation, unlike the one Hawking is talking about, is that there's no chance of your family annihilating you with an atomic bomb and making your room uninhabitable for all future generations.

(Big Think)

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