The world’s most famous theoretical physicists and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking is mostly known for his groundbreaking achievements in science, which includes Hawking radiation, Hawking energy, Gibbons–Hawking ansatz, Gibbons–Hawking effect, Penrose–Hawking theorems, and much more. His theories on the origin of the Universe, and black holes have transformed our understanding of the cosmos.
In addition to these scientific theories and equations, he is recognized for making wild predictions about the future of humanity on planet Earth. In the last couple of years, he has made some astonishing predictions that some of you might find insane. Let’s dig deeper into his recent predictions and what try to find out what he actually thinks.
4. Earth Will Not Be Able to Keep Up with Growing Population, by 2600
At Tencent WE Summit 2017, Hawking said that humanity would have to handle the population growth rate in the centuries ahead. The world population has been doubling every 40 years. At this rate, by 2600, the global electricity consumption would make the Earth glow red-hot, and the population would be standing shoulder to shoulder.
3. We’ve Only A Century Left On Earth
Image credit: Wired
100 years is nearly a human lifetime, thanks to advances in medicine. In 2017, Hawking proposed that this is how long we have left on Earth. He expressed his concerns about the future of our species during BBC interview. By the way, he predicted the same thing in 2016, but the time limit was 1,000 years instead of 100.
BBC released a new documentary earlier this year – “Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth”. It elaborates what Hawking believes. With population growth, climate change and deforestation, Earth is gradually becoming precarious.
The human species will have to leave this planet and repopulate somewhere else in the space, either on another planet or on a spacecraft. According the Hawking, if humans do not become a multi-planetary species, they could die out within next century. Although the chances of disasters on Earth in a given time is quite low, it adds up over years, becoming a near certainty in the next thousand years.
2. Artificial Intelligence Could be Worst Event In The History of Civilization
In 2017, many tech celebrities have been quite vocal regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI). The genie is out of the bottle. In November, Hawking explained that in future AI will become a whole new form of life that will ultimately outperform humans in all aspects.
He admitted that success in developing a general AI, would be the biggest event in the history of our civilization, or it could be worst. We do not know if humans will be infinitely helped by AI, ignored by it, or conceivably demolished by it.
He further added, unless humans learn how to prepare for potential risks, AI could be the worst event, and bring dangers like powerful autonomous weapons or new form of threats. It could also bring disruption to global economy. So it’s better to prepare for its consequences in advance.
Hawking said that if humans develop computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself.
1. Trump Will Push Earth Over The Brink
No surprise, Hawking is not a fan of United States President Donald Trump; Earlier in 2017, he said that Trump’s decision to pull out the Paris climate agreement could lead to irreversible climate change.
In fact, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) mentioned that the possible risk of hitting climate tipping point remains uncertain, but the risk involved with crossing several tipping points in natural systems grows with increasing temperatures.
Read: Top 30 Failed Technology Predictions by Tech Leaders
The Paris Climate Agreement aims to respond to the global climate change threat by keeping the temperature rise of this century below 2°C, and to make efforts to limit the temperature rise even further to 1.5°C. According to Hawking, Trump’s decision could even push our planet over the brink, to become like Venus, with an extremely hot temperature of 250°C, and raining sulphuric acid.
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