The world is currently in a bit of a crazy place with a lot of potentially unqualified people taking positions of power. So, when a definitely qualified, certifiably brilliant person such as Stephen Hawking speaks up, we tend to listen. Unfortunately, what he has to say at the moment isn't all that encouraging. In fact, he thinks we're all doomed. The good news is, we have a lot of time to figure something out.
New York Post is reporting that the famed theoretical physicist thinks that we need to find a new planet to live on or humanity isn't going to make it. According to Stephen Hawking, we have about 1,000 years left if we simply stay on the path that we are currently going down. Here is what he had to say during a talk at Britain's Oxford University Union recently.
"I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet."
This is not the first time Stephen Hawking has proposed that humanity will be doomed if they don't change things moving forward. Things like nuclear war, global warming and genetically engineered viruses are things that he warns could contribute to humanity's inevitable downfall. If one of those proposed dangers goes very wrong, we may not even make it 1,000 years. But that is not his main concern, at least for the moment.
Stephen Hawking is convinced that humanity needs to find another habitable planet in the future and more importantly, will need to find a way to colonize that planet in order to survive. Even if we corrected all of our self-damaging behaviors, the sun will eventually burn out and destroy Earth, so at some point, perhaps a very, very long time from now, humans will have to leave Earth. Fortunately, NASA is aware of this and has been conducting a search for a potentially habitable planet suitable for our species since 2009.
If humanity is going to survive beyond that 1,000-year mark, it will be science that saves us. Ironically, science could also be what kills us, like in the case of those genetically engineered viruses he warned about. Stephen Hawking has also expressed concern about artificial intelligence, saying that it will either be the best or worst thing that has ever happened to humanity. He did end his recent talk at Oxford by saying to the students that they should "stay curious" and said that they need to remember to "look up to the stars and not down at your feet." So at least he ended on a positive note.