‘Colonize planets to save the human race’ – Professor Stephen Hawking
While taking an American visitor on tour of London’s Science Museum, the physicist said colonizing other planets could be “life insurance” for whatever embattled remnants of the human race still existed following a nuclear apocalypse.
“Sending humans to the moon changed the future of the human race in ways that we don't yet understand,” he said.
“It hasn't solved any of our immediate problems on planet Earth, but it has given us new perspectives on them and caused us to look both outward and inward.”
“I believe that the long term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival, as it could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets,” he added.
His remarks came while he escorted Adaeze Uyanwah, from Palmdale, California, around the museum, a prize she won after producing a blog and video describing her “perfect day” in the capital.
Hawking also said, were it possible, he would eradicate aggression from the list of human shortcomings, saying it had the capacity to end humanity.
“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.”
“A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race.”
When asked which human facets he valued the most, he said “empathy.”
“The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state,” Hawking said.
Uyanwah, who is a teacher and a creative writer, beat tens of thousands of contestants to win the prize.
She said the opportunity to meet the professor was “incredible.”
“It's incredible to think that decades from now, when my grandchildren are learning Stephen Hawking's theories in science class, I'll be able to tell them I had a personal meeting with him and heard his views first hand. It's something I'll never forget.”
Hawking has previously issued other bleak warnings about the future of the human race. In December last year, he said artificial intelligence had the capacity to spell the end of civilization.