Martin Rees, cosmologist: Will the Human Race Survive the 21st Century?

In his book “Our final century: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-first Century?: Martin Rees gives us at 50/50 chance of making it to 2100.  He thinks we’ve been lucky to survive even the past 50 years.  Some of the ways in which he sees us driven extinct are:

  • Environmental degradation
  • Resource depletion
  • Terrorism / Bioterrorism
  • Destruction of the biosphere

Rees, like Ward and Gribbin, believes that we may be the only intelligent life in the universe, and therefore have a responsibility to carry on successfully and not drive ourselves extinct.

I disagree with Reese that nanotechnology or our experiments with high-speed particle collision experiments could drive us extinct, especially since the materials and energy to make computer chips and run these energy-intensive experiments is not going to exist much longer.  In the coming “Age of Wood” after Collapse, the ability to do research that advanced will simply be impossible.

I don’t agree with Rees about colonizing other worlds.  We simply don’t have a method of propulsion to do that, nor have we even figured out how to get humans to Mars and back without serious damage to their health.

Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, FRS (born 23 June 1942 in York[1]) is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004. He was President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010.

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