With the rapid progress of technology, as well as the possibility of weaponizing that science, the world needs to prepare for an event that would make Earth uninhabitable, acclaimed cosmologist Stephen Hawking warned Tuesday in an interview. Hawking encouraged leaders to consider building colonies in outer space, a process that he says could take at least 100 years to complete.
“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,” the 74-year-old said in an interview with Britain's Radio Times, as reported by the Guardian. “We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we must recognize the dangers and control them," he said.
Technological threats such as nuclear weapons, genetically engineered diseases, and biochemical warfare are the most dangerous problems facing humanity today, according to the renowned scientist. Hawking is known for his work summarizing some of the most important cosmological theories, collected in such books as “A Brief History of Time” and “The Universe in a Nutshell.”
His work on black holes is also acclaimed worldwide, and the physicist made his comments on the fate of the universe ahead of a lecture on black holes in London.
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Biochemical threats have been mounting throughout the world in the past 100 years, with the rise of nuclear weapons worldwide as well as the possible use of biochemical weapons in modern warfare.
Geneticists and other researchers have worked to manipulate the way diseases replicate and mutate, searching for cures to cancer, Ebola and a variety of ailments. Some experts have said they fear that if this kind of scientific advancement were misused it could serve to create a super-virus for which there would be no cure.
Hawking has long encouraged humans to look to space travel as an alternative solution to a growing number of worldwide crises. “Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers,” he said in 2007, adding, “I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space.”