If end of the world movies are any clue, Earth is either going to end because of robots, scary weather, or a giant unstoppable asteroid. On the plus side, we’ll find true love just before the end, and we’ll have a killer soundtrack to accompany our demise. But that’s just science fiction, right? The end of the world is still a long ways away.
One of Earth’s brightest minds isn’t so convinced. Stephen Hawking isn’t exactly hopeful about the future of mankind, and he has outlined a number of ways that we’re all going to bite it. Think of it like doomsday visions or prophecies, but backed up by science, which makes them a lot scarier. Here are some of the routes our destruction will take, possibly within the next 10,000 years.
Global warming is the obvious choice, and Hawking names it as a potential culprit. He fears that because the arctic is melting at such an alarming rate, the solar energy reflected away from our planet will be reduced. This could bring Earth’s temperature up to 480 degrees, the same as our sister planet Venus.
Nuclear warfare is another source of destruction, according to Hawking. He says that our drive for survival, land, and reproduction was an asset in caveman days, but now it pits us against each other at an unsustainable level. Artificial intelligence could also be our undoing in the future, as robots could outsmart us a la The Terminator, The Matrix, and plenty of other depictions. And in case we get through all of that, genetically engineered viruses could still kill us all.
Hawking warns us that the next 100 years are of vital importance in saving our skins, and there’s always the space colony route for mankind’s survival. So, while the future is bleak, we need to stay informed of the dangers before us so that we can all do something about it. So, let’s do something. Fast.