Famed physicist Stephen Hawking died Tuesday at the age of 76, his family confirmed. Renowned for his scientific work in a number of areas, Hawking left behind a legacy that encompassed a variety of subjects, expounding on everything from the secrets of the universe to artificial intelligence.
Hawking often shared his predictions about the future, discussing the fate of humanity and the human race.
Here are some of Hawking’s most interesting theories.
Hawking warned about the potential for robots to outperform humans, effectively making the human race obsolete.
“I fear AI may replace humans altogether,” he told Wired in November. “If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”
Hawking had some dire predictions for the temperature of our home planet, thanks, he said, to President Donald Trump. Following Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris agreement on climate change, Hawking warned of the consequences.
“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” he told BBC News. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees and raining sulfuric acid.”
Hawking urged humans to expand their horizons, saying he believed humans needed to leave Earth in order to have a viable future. Hawking discussed the potential for a space colony for survival.
“I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,” the physicist told Charlie Rose.
The Future of Humanity
Hawking was vocal in his belief that humanity would meet its demise at some point in the relatively near future, putting an expiration date on the human race.
“Although the chance of a disaster on planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, becoming a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years,” Hawking said in the BBC documentary Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth.
“We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity,” he also said. “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”