Science, Technology, Rapid Growth May Wipe Out Humanity: Hawking

Stephen Hawking has sounded a warning that rapid growth & use of science and technology could wipe out humanity. 

2 min read
Professor Stephen Hawking has told future scientists to explain their experiments and understanding to the public. (Photo: Reuters)

Stephen Hawking – world-renowned physicist, cosmologist, quantum mechanics theorist and author of the theoretical predictor of Hawking’s radiation – has warned humanity that it is likely to wipe itself out due to the rapid, uncontrollable growth and use of technology and science.

Hawking sounded his warning, specifically against the dangers of nuclear war, global warming and genetically-engineered viruses, ahead of his BBC Reith Lectures to be held on January 26.

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 added that in order to continue the streak of survival, humanity should look to “recognise the dangers and control them.”

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. 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.

Although he warns humanity, Hawking says he is an “optimist” as he thinks we can control the dangers. He emphasises that potential scientists should help the public understand where these technological advances are headed.

It’s important to ensure that these changes are heading in the right directions. In a democratic society, this means that everyone needs to have a basic understanding of science to make informed decisions about the future.

Hawking believes that communicating to the public about what research and experiments are being done will not only help in keeping everyone on the same page but also will it help scientist get a better understanding of what they’re doing themselves.

(With inputs from agencies)

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