Our civilization is growing at a dizzying pace, but at the same time there are more and more threats. Artificial intelligence, nuclear war, global pandemics, bioterrorism, abuse of Earth's natural resources - these are just some of them. Taking all this into account, a well-known British cosmologist has estimated that human civilization has a rather small chance of surviving this century.
In the book "Our Final Hour", published in 2003, Martin Rees stated that humanity has only a 50% chance of surviving the 21st century. Many years have passed since then, but Rees has just released a new book entitled "On the Future: Prospects for Humanity", in which he wrote that all decisions that will be taken now and in the next few decades can decide about life on Earth.
Martin Rees is concerned about technological development. Today, only a few people can do huge damage on a global scale. This can be a fatal hacker attack or use of deadly biological weapons that can trigger a global pandemic. Another threat is genetic engineering, which allows to modify the genes of any organisms. Just as Stephen Hawking warned, a handful of people can start to edit their genes, making them stronger, healthier and more intelligent, which, among other things, will deepen social inequalities.
In the latest interview for the Vox portal, the British astronomer and cosmologist Martin Rees said he upheld his predictions from 2003, but today he is even more concerned about the changes. Thanks to new technologies, humanity has received even more powerful tools, which with even greater ease can harm itself, which is why we are one step closer to a global catastrophe.
Astronomer Martin Rees believes that the greatest threats to our civilization come from ourselves, not from space. More than the fall of an asteroid, he fears human stupidity, greed and mistakes. Threats from people are getting bigger, and many of them can not be eliminated.
The British cosmologist also pointed out that around one billion people live today in extreme poverty, while only a few thousand of the richest people in the world have unimaginable wealth. These differences are getting deeper and nobody is doing anything about it. According to Martin Rees, this issue shows that humanity has made very little moral progress since the Middle Ages.