How “scary” are Stephen Hawking’s doomsday predictions?

The existence of the multiverse

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Stephen Hawking’s last work – published a few days before his death – was titled “The end of the eternally inflationary universe theory?”. In it, Stephen Hawking and co-author Thomas Hertog put forward a theory of the origin of the universe, of infinitely parallel universes, as well as disproving some of the previous theories and answering questions that made the headache astronomer.

A common understanding is that after the Big Bang happened, the universe expanded rapidly in an inflationary and limitless pattern. In addition, there are infinite parallel universes.

This study also shows how it is possible to test the existence of parallel universes. Physicists can find evidence of other universes by using instruments designed to measure ripples in spacetime, also known as primordial gravitational waves.

In fact, these are macro problems and not easy to understand for the majority of people, and even experts in the field of astronomy have to “struggle” to understand and explain the problems. related to the multiverse.

Who will replace humans?

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Stephen Hawking predicts AI will soon reach a level that makes it a superior new life form and can completely replace humans, although he did not give a specific timeline.

In 2017, in an interview with Wired, he said: “The genie is out of the box… I fear that AI could replace humans completely. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that can regenerate itself. This will be a new life form superior to humans.”

“I believe we have reached a point of no return. The Earth has become too small for humans. The global population is growing at an alarming rate and we are facing the danger of self-destruction. yourself,” Professor Hawking said.

In November 2021, the Wyss Institute at Harvard announced that a partnership between Wyss, Tufts and the University of Vermont had produced the “first self-replicating living robots”. Called Xenobots, these tiny “creatures” can grow out of living cells, then gather together to collect stem cells to create new mini-robots inside the cells. this. “With the right design – they will naturally replicate themselves,” confirms Joshua Bongard of the University of Vermont.

They were created with all the best intentions in mind, Bongard says, with the potential for Xenobots to be deployed to do things like remove microplastics from the environment and attack cancer cells. But, whether it is beyond human control or not, we who are reading this article completely cannot know. According to Hawking’s previous view, this is entirely possible.

Climate Change

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The US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is something that leaves scientists around the world asking themselves many questions, and Stephen Hawking has thoughts on that too. He said: “We are close to the point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s actions could push the Earth to the brink and maybe in the future our planet will become a planet again. like Venus, with temperatures as high as hundreds of degrees Celsius and rain of sulfuric acid.”

It’s a rather bleak view of the future, but at least humanity will probably be wiped out before it survives to see it.

In 2021, a study from the Weizmann Institute found that each week, on average, each person produces more human-made waste than their own body weight. Even more sadly, the man-made things on the planet have surpassed the weight of the natural things.

Population increasing day by day

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In 2017, he once said: “Our earth is becoming too small for us, the global population is growing at an alarming rate and we are in danger of self-destruction… We need to actively pursue an alternative way of life if humanity is to survive.”

Superhumans, genetically modified people

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The idea of ​​genetically engineered Superhumans sounds a bit far-fetched, but Stephen Hawking doesn’t think so. He even included a warning about it in his book, “Short Answers to Big Questions,” which was published posthumously in 2018.

He writes, “I am certain that throughout this century people will discover how to modify both intelligence and instinct”. “Some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human traits, such as memory, resistance to disease and longevity.”

Hawking sees the result of such genetic tinkering as a major – and dangerous – divide between the genetically engineered and the non-GMO.

In 2019, Nature covered the “CRISPR-baby scandal” and that’s exactly what Hawking warned about. Chinese physiologist He Jiankui announced that he has genetically engineered two baby girls who will be born with genetic immunity to HIV.

Artificial virus

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In 2016, Stephen Hawking gave a lecture, and the “genetically modified virus” was one of what he considered a potential doomsday threat.

Hawking warns that genetically engineered viruses could wipe out the entire human race in a short time. We still don’t fully understand how genes work, so editing a piece of DNA in a gene can lead to unexpected results. Sometimes this can have unintended consequences, such as the creation of an uncontrollable virus. Hawking thinks it is only a matter of time before an antibiotic-resistant virus develops.

Lack of faith in science

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Stephen Hawking did not live to see the COVID pandemic, but if he were alive and watching the anti-vaccination movements flourish around the world, he would probably say, “I told you.”

In 2017, Hawking also said: “It seems that we live in an age where science and scientists are at risk of being underestimated and diminished. This can have dire consequences. “.

Before that, in 2015, he told The Guardian: “We expected the standard of living to increase thanks to the stability that science and technology bring. But people don’t trust science, because they do. don’t understand it…”. Without a basic understanding of scientific principles and confidence that scientists are right, bad decisions are bound to be made.

The number 100

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In 2016, Stephen Hawking gave a lecture at the University of Cambridge, where he theorized that the human race would last for another 1,000 years before becoming extinct. However, the following year this number was shortened by him and fixed the end of humanity to be in 2600. And then the number continued to decrease and we were left with only 100 years.

“While the probability of a catastrophic doom for Earth in any given time is very low, that risk will increase over time, and become almost certain in 1,000 or 10,000,” Hawking said. next year”.

“During that time, we need to quickly migrate to other planets in the universe, so that a disaster on Earth will not mean the end of humanity,” Hawking added. .

According to Duc Khuong

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