Physicist and professor Stephen Hawking is warning that earth will become a flaming ball of fire by the year 2600. He also warns that if humans want to avoid permanent extinction, we should be making plans to evacuate the earth.
Hawking claims that mankind will destroy the earth making it a fireball within the next 600 years. The renowned physicist believes soaring population sizes and consequential increasing demands for energy and food will lead to the catastrophe. Hawking also says that humanity should begin looking to the stars to avoid this fate, with our nearest neighbor Alpha Centauri the best candidate for our escape. Hawking also urged financial backers to put funds behind a project that would send probes to the star system.
The Alpha Centauri system is the closest star system to our sun and consists of three stars. Of those three stars, Proxima is the closest to our sun. At a mere 4.367 light years away, on our sky’s dome, we see this multiple star system as a single star – the third-brightest star visible from Earth. And it’s this system that Hawking has his eye on.
Hawking made the comments while speaking via video link at the Tencent Web Summit, held in Beijing. The British cosmologist, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at age 21, is backing the Breakthrough Starshot project. That project will likely see a probe sent to Alpha Centauri in the very near future; 20 years or so.
“The idea behind this innovation is to have the nano craft on the light beam. Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, or reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years,” Hawking said praising the Breakthrough Starshot project. Astronomers feel that there is a reasonable chance that an Earth-like planet exists in one of the habitable zones within the star system too.
Right now, the fastest spacecraft would take 30,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri. But Hawking also threw another doomsday prediction on the table. At the 2017 Web Summit, held in Lisbon and attended by around 60,000 people, he warns that AI (artificial intelligence) is on the verge of replacing people. According to Hawking, humanity must be prepared to tackle artificial intelligence to stop robots replacing people. Hawking said the technology could transform every aspect of life in some good ways, but cautioned that intelligent machines pose new challenges. He said robots are already threatening millions of jobs but that this new revolution could be used to help society and for the good of the world, including alleviating poverty and disease.
“The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” Hawking said via video link at the opening night of the summit on Monday. “We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”