Martin Rees: The World in 2050 and Beyond
THE WORLD IN 2050 AND BEYOND SUMMARY Our Earth has existed for 45 million centuries, but this is the first when one species – ours – has the planet's future in its hands. Advances in biotechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence – if pursued and applied wisely – could empower us to boost the developing and developer world and overcome the threats humanity faces. But we must avoid dystopian risks. These are of two kinds. First, those stemming from our ever-heavier collective “footprint” on the Earth: the pressure of a growing and more demanding population threatens dangerous climate change, and biodiversity loss. Second, those triggered by technologies so powerful that even small groups, by error or design, can create a catastrophe that cascades globally. At the same time, further advances in space science will allow humans to explore the solar system and beyond with robots and AI-even seeking evidence for alien life. But there is no "Planet B" for humans if we do not care for our home planet.
Martin Rees is the UK's Astronomer Royal. He is based at Cambridge University where he is a Fellow (and Former Master) of Trinity College. He is a former President of the Royal Society and a member of many foreign academies. His research interests include space exploration, high energy astrophysics, and cosmology. He is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risks at Cambridge University (CSER), and has served on many bodies connected with education, space research, arms control and international collaboration in science. In addition to his research publications, he has written many general articles and articles and ten books, most recently “On the Future: Prospects for Humanity”.