Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various outcomes—good and bad—are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterised by short-term thinking, polarising debates, alarmist rhetoric and pessimism. Renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees argues that humanity’s prospects depend on our taking a very different approach to planning for tomorrow.
The future of humanity is bound to the future of science and hinges on how successfully we harness technological advances to address our challenges. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks, we must think rationally, globally, collectively and optimistically about the long term. Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence—if pursued and applied wisely—could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth, from climate change to nuclear war. At the same time, further advances in space science will allow humans to explore the solar system and beyond with robots and AI. But there is no ‘Plan B’ for Earth—no viable alternative within reach if we do not care for our home planet.
With fascinating insights into cutting-edge science and technology, Martin Rees examines the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.
Fri 23 November 2018
Wills Memorial Building