From man-made pandemics to cyberattacks to overthrow the city to nuclear annihilation, life on Earth could change dramatically, and soon.
“Our Earth is 45 million centuries old. But this is the first century that a species – ours – can determine the fate of the biosphere,” said Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal of the United Kingdom and founder of the Center for the Study of Existential. Risks at the University of Cambridge. *
“Our globalized society is vulnerable to the unintended consequences of powerful new technologies – not only nuclear, but (even more) biotechnology, cyber, advanced AI, space technology,” he added.
Astronomer Royal predicts the world in 2050 and beyond
Rees believes biohackers pose a particularly underrated threat to humanity. In the near future, simple equipment will allow people to irrevocably rethink the human genome or create generalized influenza. Like drug laws, regulations could never prevent all of these actions – and in a world more interconnected than ever, the consequences would spread globally.
He will discuss other dangers: an increase in population leading to a decline in biodiversity, disastrous climate change, uncontrollable cybercriminals, artificial intelligence projects that erode privacy, security and freedom.
But Rees is an optimist. It will offer a way to avoid these risks and achieve a sustainable future that is better than the world we live in today.
“If all of us, the passengers of ‘spacecraft Earth’, are to ensure that we leave it in better shape for future generations, we must promote the judicious deployment of new technologies, while minimizing the risk of pandemics, cyberthreats and threats. other global disasters, ”he said.
Reducing missile defense could prevent nuclear attack
A single nuclear weapon could kill millions of people and destroy a city instantly. Hundreds of weapons could wipe out the society that operates in a great country. Even a limited nuclear war could cause a climate catastrophe, leading to the famine of hundreds of millions of people.
Recently, Russia, China and North Korea have deployed new types of almost unstoppable missiles.
“Missile defense is an idea that may seem appealing at first glance – doesn’t defense seem like the right thing to do?” said Frederick Lamb, astrophysicist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, co-chair of the 2003 APS study on accelerated-phase missile defense and chair of the current APS group on the study of public affairs of missile defense and national security.
“But when you consider the technical challenges and the implications of the arms race, one can see that the deployment of a system to defend against intercontinental ballistic missiles is unlikely to improve US security. “, did he declare.
Lamb points to the UK’s decision to increase its nuclear arsenal by 44%, likely prompted by Russia’s new missile defense system around Moscow. He sees this move as another sign that the existing limits on nuclear weapons are crumbling. Even missile defenses that would never work in practice can catalyze the development of new nuclear weapons and increase global risk.
Lamb will share what might happen if the United States puts in place new missile defense systems.
“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 said.
* Scientists will predict the fate of the planet at a press conference at the April 2021 APS meeting.