The effects of global warming, limited resources on Earth and tendency of humankind to annihilate itself has often spawned debates about how long man can survive on this planet. Physicists Stephen Hawking has maintained that extinction is the way of nature and humankind must not try to reply to alien communications from deep space without understanding the impending dangers. Recently the esteemed physicist warned that humanity has only about 1000 years of existence and only one thing can save it from extinction, and that is to set up colonies elsewhere in the Solar System.

In a lecture at the Cambridge University this week, Hawking said that the exploration of space must continue. This is important because humanity cannot survive more than 1000 years without moving out beyond the fragile planet of Earth.

Hawking has been worried about humankind’s future, and the fact that it will destroy itself has been weighing heavily on his mind. He also warned that artificial intelligence is just like a two edged sword and could prove to be a savior for humanity or his worst folly. Hawking feels that powerful and autonomous weapons could one day turn its muzzle towards its inventors. Mankind is prone to make mistakes repeatedly and in spite of his obsession with its history never takes lessons from the past.

According to Hawking, self-sustaining colonies are not possible for the next hundred years. This means we must be treading very cautiously in the coming decades or risk extinction even before. The enemies of mankind could be lurking in some remote corner of the cosmos, something we are not even aware. However, humanity has created all the conditions conducive for his extinction in the form of climate change, global epidemics precipitated by antibiotic resistance, and nuclear might of warring nations.