Jan 19, 2016

A Brief History of Stephen Hawking Being a Bummer

Posted by in categories: engineering, existential risks, genetics, sustainability

Yeah, he’s turned into quite the man-of-panic as of late.

Stephen Hawking is at it again, saying it’s a “near certainty” that a self-inflicted disaster will befall humanity within the next thousand years or so. It’s not the first time the world’s most famous physicist has raised the alarm on the apocalypse, and he’s starting to become a real downer. Here are some of the other times Hawking has said the end is nigh—and why he needs to start changing his message.

Speaking to the Radio Times recently ahead of his BBC Reith Lecture, Hawking said that ongoing developments in science and technology are poised to create “new ways things can go wrong.” The scientist pointed to nuclear war, global warming, and genetically-engineering viruses as some of the most serious culprits.

“Although the chance of a disaster on planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, becoming a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years,” he was quoted as saying. “By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so it would not mean the end of the human race. However, 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.”

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