Physicist Stephen Hawking spoke at Oxford University Monday and presented an ominous prediction: if humanity continues beyond the next 1,000 years, it will be on another planet, according to a report.
Hawking reportedly argued that humans may not be able to overcome threats of nuclear warfare, climate change and the rise of artificial intelligence, and that humankind is catalyzing the end of earth’s habitability by quickly depleting its resources.
“I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” he said, according to the Daily Express. In order to survive, Hawking humans must “continue to go into space for the future of humanity.”
Hawking believes that leaving the planet behind is the best chance for survival. He voiced hope that space expeditions would be more advanced by the time a catastrophic disaster threatens Earth, so that humans may evacuate to another planet, the Daily Express reported.
Still, despite the challenges he foresees, Hawking reportedly said it is a “glorious time to be alive and doing research into theoretical physics.”
Hawking, 74, is the director of research at Cambridge University's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. His renowned career in phyiscs and cosmotology has focused on the basic laws that govern physical reality, including groundbreaking theories about the nature of black holes. He continued researching despite Lou Gehrig's disease all but limiting his ability to move.
This isn't the first time Hawking has expressed the view that humanity needs to leave its home planet if it wants to survive.
In September, the Guardian newspaper published an excerpt from the theoretical physicist's book "How To Make A Spaceship" in which he says, “I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers.”
Earlier this year, the BBC reported that Hawking said progress in science and technology will actually create "new ways things can go wrong" at a lecture, and that artificial intelligence should not be underestimated for its potential to advance quicker than humans can it takes off on its own and designs itself.
"We are not going to stop making progress, or reverse it, so we have to recognize the dangers and control them," Hawking said at the January lecture. "I'm an optimist, and I believe we can."