Stephen Hawking, who introduced the concept of Hawking radiationis not particularly optimistic about our planet’s ability to survive the next thousand to ten thousand years. According to the BBCsaid the celebrated physicist that “while the probability of disaster for planet Earth in any given year may be quite small, it adds up over time and becomes almost certain over the next thousand or ten thousand years.”
By then, however, we should have safely migrated to the stars. Unfortunately, Hawking also says it’s unlikely we’ll be establishing self-sustaining colonies in space for the next 100 years, meaning we’ll need to be “very careful” within this time frame. That may be difficult given that the professor also reportedly stated that further advances in science and technology will “create new ways things can go wrong.”
It is not the first time Hawking has spoken out about the danger humanity poses to itself. Last year, the physicist, among other scientific luminaries, signed an open letter calling for the development of “offensive autonomous weapons” to be banned.
But he doesn’t seem to see this as a reason to halt scientific progress, instead he believes we should “recognize and manage the dangers”. He said: “From my own perspective, it has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics. There’s nothing like the Eureka moment to discover something no one knew before.”
These comments precede BBC Radio 4’s broadcast of Professor Hawking’s lecture on black holes, in which he will discuss the nature of black holes and how they challenge the conventional laws of the universe. The first half of the lecture will be broadcast on January 26 at 9 a.m. and the second half on February 2 at 9 a.m.