From engineered pandemics to city-toppling cyber assaults to nuclear annihilation, life on Earth may seriously change, and shortly.
“Our Earth is 45 million centuries old. But this century is the first when one species — ours — can determine the biosphere’s fate,” stated Martin Rees, the United Kingdom’s Astronomer Royal and a founding father of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risks at Cambridge University.*
“Our globally-linked society is vulnerable to the unintended consequences of powerful new technologies — not only nuclear, but (even more) biotech, cyber, advanced AI, space technology,” he added.
Royal astronomer predicts the world in 2050 and past
Rees thinks biohackers pose a very underappreciated risk to humanity. In the close to future, easy gear will allow individuals to reengineer the human genome irrevocably or construct a superspreading influenza. Like drug legal guidelines, rules may by no means stop all such actions — and in a world extra interconnected than ever earlier than, the results would unfold globally.
He will talk about different risks: inhabitants rise resulting in plummeting biodiversity, disastrous local weather change, uncontrollable cybercriminals, plans for synthetic intelligence that erodes privateness, safety, and freedom.
But Rees is an optimist. He will provide a path towards avoiding these dangers and reaching a sustainable future higher than the world we dwell in right now.
“If all of us passengers on ‘spaceship Earth’ want to ensure that we leave it in better shape for future generations we need to promote wise deployment of new technologies, while minimizing the risk of pandemics, cyberthreats, and other global catastrophes,” he stated.
Scaling again missile protection may stop a nuclear assault
A single nuclear weapon may kill thousands and thousands and destroy a metropolis instantaneously. Hundreds of weapons may wipe out functioning society in a big nation. Even a restricted nuclear battle may trigger a local weather disaster, resulting in the hunger of lots of of thousands and thousands of individuals.
Recently, Russia, China, and North Korea have deployed new forms of almost unstoppable missiles.
“Missile defense is an idea that can sound appealing at first — doesn’t defense sound like the right thing to do?” stated Frederick Lamb, astrophysicist on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, cochair of the 2003 APS Study of Boost-Phase Missile Defense, and chair of the present APS Panel on Public Affairs Study of Missile Defense and National Security.
“But when the technical challenges and arms race implications are considered, one can see that deploying a system that is intended to defend against intercontinental ballistic missiles is unlikely to improve the security of the United States,” he stated.
Lamb factors to the United Kingdom’s resolution to extend its nuclear arsenal by 44%, probably motivated by Russia’s new missile protection system round Moscow. He sees the transfer as yet one more signal that present limits on nuclear weapons are unraveling. Even missile defenses that may by no means work in apply can catalyze the event of latest nuclear weapons and improve international danger.
Lamb will share what could occur if the United States ramps up new missile protection methods.
“What is done about nuclear weapons and missile defenses by the United States and other countries affects the safety and survival of every person on the planet,” he stated.
*Scientists will forecast the destiny of the planet at a press convention throughout the 2021 APS April Meeting.