We are living through the most dangerous time in the history of the human race, according to Professor Stephen Hawking.
The Cambridge University physics professor named overpopulation, climate change and diseases as just some of the threats facing our planet.
He said we have developed technology that could destroy Earth, and we must ‘retrain’ for a new world where robots have replaced many everyday jobs.
We are living through the most dangerous time in the history of the human race, according to Professor Stephen Hawking. The Cambridge University physics professor named overpopulation, climate change and diseases as just some of the threats facing our planet
Writing in a comment article in The Guardian, Professor Hawking explained what worries him about the future of our planet.
‘For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together,’ he said.
‘We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.
‘Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity.
‘We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it.’
‘Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.’
The world-famous physicist has previously issued warnings to the world that robots could wipe out humanity and that leaving Earth is our only hope, and that our days on Earth are numbered,
Professor Hawking said life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers
In September the physicist warned our planet is becoming a dangerous place because of the threat of war or disease.
Our desire to create helpful digital assistants and self-driving vehicles could bring about our demise.
Professor Stephen Hawking warned that humanity faces an uncertain future as technology learns to think for itself and adapt to its environment.
Speaking at an event in London earlier this year, the physicist told the BBC: ‘The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.’
This echoes claims he made earlier in the year when he said success in creating AI ‘would be the biggest event in human history, [but] unfortunately, it might also be the last.’
He argues that developments in digital personal assistants Siri, Google Now and Cortana are merely symptoms of an IT arms race which ‘pale against what the coming decades will bring.’
But Professor Hawking noted other potential benefits of this technology could also be significant, with the potential to eradicate, war, disease and poverty.
‘Looking further ahead, there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved,’ continued Professor Hawking.
‘There is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains.’
‘I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers,’ he said.
‘I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go to space.’
Professor Hawking made similar comments earlier this year while recording the BBC’s annual Reith Lectures on January 7.
The lecture explored research into black holes, and his warning was made during questions fielded by audience members.
When asked how the world will end, Hawking said that increasingly, most of the threats humanity faces come from progress in technology.
The scientist, who turned 74 this year, said the threats include nuclear war, catastrophic global warming and genetically engineered viruses.
‘We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we must recognise the dangers and control them,’ he said, speaking to Radio Times ahead of the lecture.
To get away from these threats, humankind will have to colonise other planets, which Hawking believes will take more than a century.
‘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,’ Hawking said.
In July, Professor Hawking and Tesla founder Elon Musk led 1,000 robotics experts in an open letter warning that ‘Autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow’
‘The probable life span of human civilization is much greater if we’re a multi-planet species as opposed to a single-planet species,’ Elon Musk said last year.
‘If we’re a single planet species, then eventually there will be some extinction event,’ Mr Musk said.
His company SpaceX is working to send humans to space.
Last week the firm test fired one of its new Raptor ‘interplanetary transport engines’ which the company will use to carry astronauts to Mars.
This week the US Senate introduced a bipartisan bill that authorizes a new $19.5 billion (£15 billion) budget for Nasa to send a crew to the red planet, but mandated it must happen within the next 25 years
The rocket engine is three times more powerful than the one on the Falcon 9 rockets. It will ultimately be used to launch SpaceX’s manned spacecraft off our planet.
Mr Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, said the rocket will be ultimately capable of producing thrust of 690,000lbs over 382 seconds.
The engine is powered using liquid methane and liquid oxygen rather than the kerosene used in the Merlin engines of its Falcon 9 rockets.
When billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, he set his sights on the ultimate goal of colonising Mars.
But now the firm’s ambitious founder has hinted that he may have bold plans that go way beyond the red planet.
He has said the vehicle his company has been developing to take humans to Mars could also be used to carry astronauts even further across the solar system.
Writing on Twitter, Musk said: ‘Turns out MCT [Mars Colonial Transporter] can go well beyond Mars, so will need a new name…’
SpaceX has now renamed the spacecraft the Interplanetary Transport System.
SpaceX’s Mars Colonial Transporter was initially being developed to carry astronauts and supplies to the surface of Mars to set up a base there.
In the past, Musk has been highly secretive about his plans for SpaceX, but at the end of this month he is due to present some of his vision for the company at the International Astronautical Congress, in Guadalajara, Mexico.