Stephen Hawking has a question for you


Kreskin
#1
Stephen Hawking has a question for you

'How can human race survive?' astrophysicist asks on Web site


NEW YORK (AP) -- Some questions even stump Stephen Hawking.

The famed British astrophysicist and best-selling author has turned to Yahoo Answers, a new feature in which anyone can pose a question for fellow Internet users to try to answer. By Friday afternoon, nearly 17,000 Yahoo Inc. users had responded to Hawking.

Hawking's question: "In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"

Some of the answers were short -- "get rid of nuclear weapons" -- and others vague -- "Somehow we will." Many were doubtful: "I don't think it is possible unless we expand into space."

A number of people suggested thinking differently, ending bickering or fostering cooperation.

Officials at Cambridge University, where Hawking is a mathematics professor, confirmed that Hawking wrote the message but said he would have no further comment.

Hawking's groundbreaking research on black holes and the origins of the universe has made him one of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation. Author of the global best-seller "A Brief History of Time," Hawking is known for proposing that space and time have no beginning and no end.

Lately, he has been pondering the fate of humans.

In a speech June 13 in Hong Kong, Hawking said the survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth.

He said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.


Complete article http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/interne....ap/index.html

How would you respond?

edit: title
 
#juan
#2
World government,

preferrably, not run by the oil companies, or Wal-Mart. I'm pessimistic unless the world can unite under a single banner and work towards curbing the population and generally, cleaning up the planet. Expansion to the Moon and Mars would likely be a good investment
 
Daz_Hockey
#3
I've just finished reading Stephen King's "The Stand", I know what your thinking "what the hecks that got to do with this", well apart from the fact that it's a much deeper cryitique of the god the jews, christians and islam and that effectivly he states that god really hasnt changed from the "wrathfilled almighty one", Nuculear prolification for example, he suggests is a test given from god along with biological and chemical weapons.

He also states that the Genocide of billions isnt completly out of character with the original MO of god as opposed to the all-loving one that Jesus claimed...the one who "hung his own son up against a tree".....basically, what worries me is all the weapons we have laying around, if just one is taken by etremists it could cause a domino effect and we'd all be screwed, and this god who's caused so much trouble lately would do nothing but laugh.

And they say Lucifer was a bad guy, great book, read it, it'll make you think about the possible end of the world through WMD's and such, also it's very deep and very big, but will also me you think about what would happen if country states DO act on their own with no communications.

But #juan is right
 
Toro
#4
World government is a horrible idea, considering that much of the world lives in poorly run or undemocratic states.

I'm an optimist. Man's capacity, ingenuity and adaptability have made life easier and better, and will continue to do so going forward.

The prophets of doom have been predicting the end of the earth since the dawn of time.

Stephen Hawking is a brilliant physicist. As a social commentator, I'm not so sure.
 
I think not
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan

World government,

Interesting #juan, you're unwilling to give up the monarchy but quick to support a world government that would effectively compromise your sovereignty, or is it a mix of both? A world government reigned by a monarch? I would appreciate if you can elaborate a bit on what I see a contradiction in your thoughts. Thanks.
 
Said1
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not

Quote: Originally Posted by #juan

World government,

Interesting #juan, you're unwilling to give up the monarchy but quick to support a world government that would effectively compromise your sovereignty, or is it a mix of both? A world government reigned by a monarch? I would appreciate if you can elaborate a bit on what I see a contradiction in your thoughts. Thanks.



NO. Not the anti-Christ!
 
s_lone
#7
Only a strong web of love can unite and save humanity. Not politics.
 
#juan
#8
Says ITN
Quote:

Interesting #juan, you're unwilling to give up the monarchy but quick to support a world government that would effectively compromise your sovereignty, or is it a mix of both? A world government reigned by a monarch? I would appreciate if you can elaborate a bit on what I see a contradiction in your thoughts. Thanks.

How many times does it have to be said? The monarchy in Canada is simply part of tradition. They have no power. The Monarchy is an apolitical head of state. By the time we get around to world government, I'm sure the monarchy will have been long gone. The other thread was asking if we should dump the monarchy. I disagreed with dumping the monarchy.

Every country would have to be represented in in a perfect world government. Some smaller countries might berepresented by a regional representative. I'm sure we are talking about something that is 50 or 60 years away at least.
 
dekhqonbacha
#9
Discovering faster going aircraft, and explore nearby stars.

Because the chances of "deep impact" is not zero.
 
I think not
#10
#juan

Ok, just needed clarification as I wasn't quite clear on it, your explanation makes alot of sense, especially since you are spreading it out over time.
 
tamarin
#11
We can survive through draconian measures. I have no idea why humans have been allowed to mushroom to the 7 billion area. Any other species of our size and our propensity would have been mercilessly trimmed back years ago. The globe needs to be read the riot act on growth. And Canada might start to act with a modicum of responsibility and stop seeing itself as a dumping ground for the world's surplus.
 
Toro
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by tamarin

We can survive through draconian measures. I have no idea why humans have been allowed to mushroom to the 7 billion area. Any other species of our size and our propensity would have been mercilessly trimmed back years ago. The globe needs to be read the riot act on growth. And Canada might start to act with a modicum of responsibility and stop seeing itself as a dumping ground for the world's surplus.



"Allowed"?!

I've always thought that if anybody thinks there are too many people on the world right now, they should stop being so selfish, walk the talk and off themselves.
 
#juan
#13
Quote:

I have no idea why humans have been allowed to mushroom to the 7 billion area.

Other of God's creatures tend to achieve natural population control as the supply of food becomes a limiting factor. Man overcame that little problem centuries ago. We can limit our population by voluntary means but right now the world can't agree on what day it is.

The only thing that will change this situation is a benevolent world government. People have to start thinking about "spaceship Earth" or we are all doomed.
 
tamarin
#14
'Allowed?" I used to think the most environmentally conscious act would be to approach a pregnant woman on the street and demand, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" But common social graces got the better of me.
"Benevolent" world government? I think the time for benevolence is over.
 
#juan
#15
Quote:

"Benevolent" world government? I think the time for benevolence is over.

Right!

Let's shoot every second child, and every third potential parent. That'll teach'em.
 
s_lone
#16
The Earth as a living ecosystem itself might take care of business and react before things get out of hand...

I tend to think the further we go into madness, the more the Earth will become unstable, literally decapitating humanity and in the end saving it.(thanks to massive natural disasters and killer outbreaks)
 
tamarin
#17
"Let's shoot every second child, and every third potential parent. That'll teach'em."

You first! I'm a great shot. I do want you to get your share!
 
The Project Man
#18
What does the world need, a stern hand or a caressing one?

One uncorrupt government would be ideal. (Never Happen)

Population explosion is a problem. But we have condemned such acts in the mistreatment of children when the desired sex of a child becomes a deciding factor.

This place is a mess. We need to clean it up. What is to become of the population that is not able to make such a journey to the new colonies? Who would go? Is this not genocide?

LOL! “Shush! Don’t tell (FILL IN CONTINENT and/or GROUP OF PEOPLE HERE) we are all getting on the ship tonight at 8pm.”

Thank you,
 
Dexter Sinister
#19
Been thinking this one over for a long time.

Quote: Originally Posted by Toro

Stephen Hawking is a brilliant physicist. As a social commentator, I'm not so sure.

My sentiments exactly. His concerns are legitimate I think, but how much time has he spent studying history and politics and sociology and such? Not much, I'd bet. This might be another case of someone recognized globally as superbly competent in one area being assumed competent to comment wisely on other subjects far outside his area of expertise. His question simply assumes the truth of the statement that the entire world is in chaos politically, socially, and environmentally. I'm no expert historian or sociologist either, but I've probably had the time to read and think more deeply in those subjects than Hawking has, and frankly it's not obvious to me that things are fundamentally any worse now than they've ever been. There have always been wars and rumours of wars, there have always been resource shortages, there has always been poverty and disease and social unrest, there have always been stupid and inept leaders, and somehow humanity's managed to muddle through. Though not without cost.

So here's my answer to Stephen Hawking:

Our ultimate fate is extinction anyway. We can hasten our own demise or prolong our natural span artificially, and I'd agree that we seem to be aiming at the former these days and should do something about that, but not just because of its impact on us. The record shows five mass extinction events in the history of life on this planet, the most recent being the bolide impact that wiped out the dinosaurs and about 75% of every other life form on the planet 65 million years ago. Human activities are now causing a sixth mass extinction. We are a plague upon the planet with our current ways, and nature has ways of dealing with plagues.

Most species last for a span of at least a few million years and so far we have only a small fraction of that. I'd be saddened to see us disappear prematurely because of our own folly (though I'm highly unlikely to actually see it), but ultimately we *will* disappear anyway. It'd be nice to leave some identifiable descendants that have evolved into something else, the way we can identify modern birds as the descendants of a certain dinosaur lineage, but if we don't, we wouldn't be the first or the last evolutionary dead end. Check out Richard Dawkins' latest book, The Ancestor's Tale; brilliant and fascinating.

Bottom line for Hawking's question: in the *very* long term, it doesn't matter. It's only our own conceit that makes us think it does.
 
s_lone
#20
How can human race survive?

The only way to survive is to understand our structural role in the universe.
 
Dexter Sinister
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by s_lone

The only way to survive is to understand our structural role in the universe.

What the Hell does that mean? We have a structural role in the universe? According to everything I think I understand, the universe is supremely indifferent to our existence in it and we have no real influence on it at all.
 
s_lone
#22
Well...

You could say the universe is supremely indifferent to the worms crawling around in our earth. But these worms play a pretty important part in the Earth's ecosystem. They are part of a larger structure. I believe humans are part of a larger structure that is way beyond our individual egos. Connecting to this structure is, in my opinion, the key to our survival.
 
#juan
#23
Saying, " it doesn't matter" is sort of saying we've failed and that our eminent demise is going to happen regardless. There is a good chance it will, but I would like us to fight to survive, kicking and biting all the way. There are a lot of things wrong with the human race, but there is a lot of good as well. I think we, as the apparent dominant species on this planet, have to turn to science, and away from big business and especially big oil. We have to be responsible for every aspect of our lives that affects other species. As someone said, there is a connectivity between all species and every extinction brings us closer to our own. I don't think it is too late but we had better change our collective way of thinking before it is too late.

I also think we need a responsible world government. That statement will bring on a lot of gnashing of teeth but it will have to happen.
 
wallyj
#24
Someone has to take control in a world government.Right now the U.S.dollar is the international currency.English is the international language. When people flee opressive gov'ts they go to the States.I think that America has to lead by example and show the people in the messed up regions that democracy works. The main problem that will bring destuction of the planet is the nutcases in the Middle east who are looking to the past for salvation instead of the future.The people there must one by one speak out against thier ingrained beliefs of God.Allah etc. and realize that they are responsible for themselves.Technology will either save or destroy the planet.right now it seems we are on the eve of destuction.Apologies to Mr. Maguire.
 
#juan
#25
A world government means a world government, not a U.S. dictatorship. The U.S. is one of the major things wrong with the world and I suspect, one of the biggest roadblocks to world peace and world government. In a world government that might have a chance to work, every country must have a voice, either by their own representative or a regional representative. In the world I envision, there would only be one military, made up of people from all over the world, to keep order. I probably won't see this in my lifetime but I hope my children do.
 
wallyj
#26
I would take my chances with the U.S. over anything the UN could possibly cobble together.It would be great if the ME would get on board,but they are too busy killing each other and threatening the rest of society.Perhaps the NATO nations would be the best option.It has to start with democratic nations.
 
humanbeing
#27
Screw exploring new stars or learning how to build space stations... though we will undoubtedly do this in the future for the sake of something to do, for learning, for fun, etc...

Humans will alter and adapt themselves in the future whether the environment says we have to or not. This is more likely than us adapting the environment to suit our needs. We are too weak and susceptible to death and host to a myriad of other problems (or what some folks might potentially call problems). While we might look at such a change with disgust, people are bound to do it, and it will change everything when it happens...

Anyways, I dig s_lones ideas. "Connecting ourselves to the ecosystem" and love offer *possible* solutions. I can only hope... But more likely, we will just alter ourselves with technology, or adapt with technology. Best case would see both possibilities arise.

I guess it is all a matter of how we choose to go extinct...

Degradation of our natural systems is happening right now... we are causing the sixth mass extinction at this very time, as Dexter sinister says. This might very well lead to our extinction...

...or we might go extinct as humans by throwing ourselves away. Changing ourselves.

*edit* damn those emoticons. it should say D I S G U S T were you see the little blue face.
 
jimmoyer
#28
So here's my answer to Stephen Hawking:

Our ultimate fate is extinction anyway. We can hasten our own demise or prolong our natural span artificially,
------------------Dexter Sinister-------------------------------

As usual, a thoughtful post.

As Dexter Sinister indicates, all things die.

Planets and Suns die.

However, man might be the creator of its own next
new evolution as it tinkers with DNA available from the
thorough DNA mapping projects going on.

Splicing in nanotech and electronic design with
biological advances, we may create a hybrid that
will dimly remember who we were, as most Gods are
dimly remembered or understood by its children.
 
Gilgamesh
#29
Dear Dr. Hawking,

We's all gonna die!!