The End of the World as We Know It?
May 15, 2017
Renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking recently theorized that the earth will face certain disaster within the next 1,000-10,000 years. In order to survive, he determined that humans have 100 years to colonize space. He believes that the potential population of the moon, Mars, and other planets would ensure the continuation of the human race. Hawking believes that, “with climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious.” So what happens if we fail to colonize space? Here is a compilation of the most likely ways that the human race will meet its fate.
- Gamma Ray Explosion. Gamma ray bursts are sparked by the explosion or collision of large stars and give off electromagnetic radiation. If one of these bursts occurred in the Milky Way close enough to Earth, the gamma rays could fry the Earth’s ozone layer, exposing the Earth and us to the dangerous ultraviolet rays exuded by the sun.
- Artificial Intelligence Takeover. With humans constantly seeking ways to make our lives easier, it doesn’t seem unlikely that our technology could eventually outsmart us. The White House’s report on AI stated that, “it is to be expected that machines will continue to reach and exceed human performance on more and more tasks.” With self-driving cars, supercomputers, and continuously advancing robots, it’s only a matter of time before we are wiped out by our very own creations.
- Asteroid Collision. While Earth’s atmosphere protects us from a majority of space matter, we’ve been hit before, and it’s possible it could happen again. NASA has been tracking the 450 meter wide asteroid 2013 TV135, as it has come dangerously close to Earth in the past. If this asteroid hits Earth, the energy released on impact would be over 50 times greater than Russia’s Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear weapon to ever be detonated. While the chances of collision are slim, the 2013 TV135 is expected to come within 1 million miles of Earth in August of 2032 so it looks like we’ve got about another 15 years left.
- World War 3. With over 16,000 nuclear weapons in the hands of nine countries, the concept of World War 3 isn’t just a shallow movie plot anymore. In the words of perhaps the greatest scientist of all time, Albert Einstein, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Whatever destruction ensues during WWIII will be so drastic that humans will find themselves back in the Stone Age, right where they started.
So what do you think? Is Stephen Hawking right?