Stephen Hawking is (yet again) a harbinger of bad things to come: During the BBC’s yearly Reith Lectures, the physicist said the science and technology advances made by the human race would likely be its undoing. In response to a question about how the world would end, Hawking pointed to nuclear warfare, global warming, and genetically engineered viruses as examples of how man-made threats could bring about its demise.
“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 thousand or ten thousand years,” Hawking said, according to the BBC. “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.
Since humans will only continue making progress, Hawking says, it is imperative that we stay vigilant–especially in the near future. “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,” he said.
This isn’t the first dire proclamation Hawking has made about humanity. Along with Elon Musk, Hawking recently endorsed a letter warning that artificial intelligence weapons could lead to “a global arms race.”
[via the BBC]