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Stephen Hawking predicts extinction of mankind. What will our actions be?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 16:18 | Hits: 35982 |

Epigraph:

  “Trees grow even on rock”

 

During his visit to the Cedars-Sinai medical centre in Los Angeles, authoritative British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has made a distressing forecast of the future existence of human society on planet Earth. In his presentation for the staff members of the centre he suggested his own view of the various versions of the future.

 

 

About Earth.

“Not known for conspiracy theories, Hawking's rationale is that the Earth is far too delicate a planet to continue to withstand the barrage of human battering” [4].

“If you understand how the universe operates, you control it in a way,” he said [3].

As the L.A. Times observed, Hawking was asked what, besides his wheelchair, he would like to control.

"What I would really like to control is not machines, but people," he said [5].

Expert advice

Hawking concluded his speech by urging the audience to keep asking questions.

“Your universe is a great triumph,” he said. “I want to share my enthusiasm and excitement about this great quest. So remember to look up at the stars and not at your feet. ... Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at” [5].

On motivation for space exploration

For years, Hawking has advised people to begin the search for new planets to inhabit. In 2006, he iterated some of today's sentiment saying the survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe. In 2011, he said, "Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space." [4]

It is not the first time Hawking urges humankind to look for a new planet. Earlier, he stated that we are threatened by man-made catastrophes, such as the Cuban Missile crisis of 1963, and the probability of such cataclysms is only growing. In addition, population growth and limited resources on Earth will make life on our planet impossible, and the only way to survive will be to colonise other planets.

“We must carefully consider all possibilities for survival”, says Hawking. “ If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space”, he said [1]

According Hawking, our species can avoid disaster in the next two centuries if it starts a search for a new home, or several homes at the same time.

The physicist thinks, that “our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts that were of survival advantage in the past.” "The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet," he said in an earlier interview. [2]

“We must continue to go into space for humanity,” Hawking said. “We won’t survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet” [5].

About life in the Universe and Extraterrestrial Threat

Hawking is also a firm believer of the existence of biological life in many parts of the universe, but he warns against contact with extraterrestrial life. Most likely, aliens will present a great danger to humans. They can conquer and plunder Earth, he said in one of his TV shows in 2010. [6]

As an argument, the scientist suggests to look at the experience of humankind. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said. [6]

Hawking does not doubt the existence of extraterrestrials. A different question troubles him. “The real problem is to find out what they look like,” the astrophysicist says. And he answers himself: his opinion is that our neighbors in the Universe are, for the most part, microbes. [1]

Comparison: Hawking’s escapism and Efremov’s model of a stable and sustainable societyу

We would like to present to you an alternative view of the topics that Hawking touched on by quoting Ivan Antonovich Efremov’s “Razor’s Edge”.

I.A. Efremov, “The Razor’s Edge”, selection from Girin’s dialogue:

“...We’ve gotten used to changing and improving technology. Perhaps, we would feel down without yearly scientific discoveries, fascinating our imagination.

The growth of discoveries, rate of development of science, and following it - technology, is happening, as an engineer would say, exponentially.

...The blastoff of science requires more and more psychological strength. And more still will be needed for solving the colossal problem of reconstructing people and the economy...

...But is this strength growing, is it nurtured at the needed rate in a human? What has been done to create a common understanding of laws of a human’s psychological life? I’m afraid, that we have not even thought about it seriously yet! As it stands - a fracture between preparedness and relentless demands of the epoch, of life, our leading role in the avant-guard of humankind...

...And finally, that which is called escapism in the West - a strive to leave someplace from a life backbreaking and restless...

...A more subtle type of escapism - dreams of other worlds, with beautiful princesses, waiting for courageous earthlings in gardens of unthinkable beauty. From here is the great success of fantastic stories about space...

- What, you are against the strive to space? - Rita jumped up and covered behind Iryna’s shoulder.
- What intelligent person would be against the great dream of humankind? - Girin objected calmly. - But it is absolutely necessary that this dream not degenerate into an aspiration to run away from Earth, where humans were seemingly not strong enough to arrange life. To leave in search of better worlds, high civilizations or robbery thereof, so as to return to Earth a wealthy pirate, which is how it is often portrayed in American fantasy literature.

There is only one real way into space - from excess strength, from a prosperous planet to a search of brothers by reason and culture. And for this a human must firmly stand with both feet on Earth, building and changing it through joyous labour and becoming richer and stronger in spirit. To be capable of titanic efforts, which will be required for real conquering of interstellar space. All this is possible only with the highest forms of society...

...But the highest societal forms may be created only by well mannered and disciplined, highly conscious people - that is a prescription of the laws of the Universe...”.


[1] - Ytro.ru / Человечеству пора бежать с Земли

[2] - РБК / Стивен Хокинг призвал человечество покинуть Землю

[3] - CBS / Hawking: Humans Will Not Survive Another 1,000 Years ‘Without Escaping’ Earth

[4] - CNET / Stephen Hawking predicts end-of-Earth scenario

[5] - L.A. TIMES / Stephen Hawking talks about unified theory and his biggest 'blunder'

[6] - Stephen Hawking's prophecies to come true in 300 years


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