Read the following - I bet that you can come up with the most serious and the most likely threat facing mankind that all these “super brains” are missing.
Oh, don’t you think you’re so smart? I bet that I could kick your ass in a game of one-on-one basketball.
Killer robots and crippling cyber attacks: How the world is going to end - according to super brains such as Stephen Hawking
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2418990/Science-superheroes-famous-thinkers-form-doomsday-society-save-humanity-asteroids-pandemics--itself.html#ixzz2em6C2jWD
By NICK MCDERMOTT, SCIENCE REPORTER PUBLISHED: 14:01 EST, 12 September 2013 | UPDATED: 18:40 EST
They are an improbable group of superheroes. But some of Britain's greatest minds have got together to focus their powers on saving humanity from itself. Led by the Astronomer Royal and Cambridge don Martin Rees, famous thinkers such as physicist Stephen Hawking and former Government chief scientist Robert May have formed a society to draw up a doomsday list of risks that could wipe out mankind. From crippling cyber-attacks by terrorists using the internet to cause havoc, to the release of engineered diseases and killer computers, they warn the future is far from rosy. The society, which is led by Lord Rees, will look at natural catastrophes The society, which is led by Lord Rees, will look at natural catastrophes like an asteroid hitting the Earth (illustrated) extreme weather events and pandemics, but he believes 'the main threats to sustained human existence now come from people, not from nature' But the work being done by the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) should one day help the world sleep a little easier at night. Once the threats have been identified, the group intend to devise ways of 'ensuring our own species has a long-term future'. Although nuclear annihilation and a giant asteroid obliterating the planet remain distinct, if unlikely possibilities, Lord Rees now believes 'the main threats to sustained human existence now come from people, not from nature.' More... From lily pad to launch pad: Leaping frog photobombs Nasa space launch to the moon Britain's great climate change divide: Winters in the North are becoming warmer - while in the South it's summers that are getting hotter Other scenarios being considered by the 27-strong group, which also involves academics from Oxford, Imperial, Harvard and Berkeley, include extreme weather events, fast spreading pandemics, and war or sabotage resulting in a shortage of food and resources. Speaking last night at the British Science Festival at the University of Newcastle, Lord Rees said: 'In future decades, events with low probability but catastrophic consequences may loom high on the political agenda. Robert May have formed the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk Led by the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, famous thinkers such as physicist Stephen Hawking (pictured) and former Government chief scientist Robert May have formed the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) to draw up a doomsday list of risks that could wipe out mankind 'That's why some of us in Cambridge - both natural and social scientists - plan, with colleagues at Oxford and elsewhere, to inaugurate a research programme to compile a more complete register of these existential risks, and to assess how to enhance resilience against the more credible ones.' He added: 'The response we've had to our proposal has been remarkably wide and remarkably positive. 'The project is still embryonic but we are seeking funds via various sources and have strengthened our international advisory network.' The other two co-founders of CSER are Jann Tallinn, one of the people behind internet phone service Skype, and Cambridge philosopher Professor Huw Price. The group's manifesto is clear: 'Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. 'Our goal is to steer a small fraction of Cambridge's great intellectual resources and of the reputation built on its past and present scientific pre-eminence, to the task of ensuring that our own species has a long-term future. Society member David Spiegelhalter warned we use interconnected systems for everything Society member David Spiegelhalter warned we use interconnected systems for everything from power to food supply, which means there can be trouble if things go wrong. If the supply of food is disrupted it would take about 48-hours before it runs out and riots begin, he said 'In the process, we hope to make it a little more certain that we humans will be around to celebrate the University's own millennium, now less than two centuries hence.' Cambridge statistician Professor David Spiegelhalter, who is also part of CSER, said: 'Asteroids crashing on earth are an existential threat, but there is not really a lot we can do about preventing such an event. 'The ones that we are not so well aware of are the technological threats. Our reliance on technology leaves us vulnerable to it. We use interconnected systems for everything from power, to food supply and banking, which means there can be real trouble if things go wrong or they are sabotaged. 'In a modern, efficient world, we no longer stockpile food. If the supply is disrupted for any reason, it would take about 48-hours before it runs out and riots begin. So on a practical level, individuals should keep some non-perishable items at home. 'Energy security is also an issue, as we import much of our fuel from abroad, so a conflict over resources in the future is possible.' THE END OF THE WORLD: RISKS , FROM EVIL COMPUTERS TO A VIRUS The end of the world is nigh Intelligent technology: A network of computers could develop a mind of its own. Machines could direct resources towards their own goals at the expense of human needs such as food and threaten mankind. Cyber attacks: Power grids, air traffic control, banking and communications rely on interconnected computer systems. If these networks collapse due to action by enemy nations or terrorists, the paralysis could result in society breaking down. Engineered infection:A man-made super virus or bacteria with no antidote escapes the lab or is released by terrorists. Millions die. Food supply sabotage:Efficient distribution networks mean many Western nations have only 48 hours worth of food stockpiled. Any disruption would result in panic buying and riots. Extreme weather: As the Earth continues to warm a tipping point is reached and the process snowballs, resulting in irreversible and worsening natural disasters. Fast-spreading pandemic: International travel means a new killer virus, mutated from animals, could travel the globe in days, wiping out millions before a vaccine can be developed. War:Growing populations put a strain on water and food resources. Nations will go to war to protect or capture these precious supplies. Nuclear apocalypse: Nations with atom bombs launch targeted strikes leading to all-out warfare and global loss of life. Also fears nuclear warheads could fall into terrorist hands. Asteroid impact: A giant asteroid is believed to have killed off the dinosaurs. Some fear a similar impact could do the same for mankind. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2418990/Science-superheroes-famous-thinkers-form-doomsday-society-save-humanity-asteroids-pandemics--itself.html#ixzz2em4uz7uQ Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
All too often, when people speak of the apocalypse, they use terms like “the end of the world” or “the extinction of the human race”. What they fail to take into account is that humanity has faced at least a few apocalyptic events since it’s existence, and survived. We really need not worry about the end of the world, because in almost any scenario where such a thing takes place, the cause is not the fault of the human race and/or we would be powerless to stop it.
What we should be concerned with though is “the end of the world as we know it”. Not the end of life, but the end of life worth living, and it’s fairly easy to see how such a thing could happen.
If you were to ask people what makes life worth living, you would get many different answers, but almost all of the answers would depend upon one thing - FREEDOM. It doesn’t matter whether you are a selfish, materialistic person, or people loving, family person. Everything that you value depends upon your freedom and the freedom of others, in order for you to have and hold on to with some amount of confidence that it will still be yours tomorrow.
THE LOSS OF FREEDOM IS THE GREATEST RISK TO HUMANITY, yet freedom is the first thing that many people are willing to sacrifice in the name of safety, security, or justice. Ironically all of these things are threatened more by the loss of freedom than anything else. In addition to people voluntarily giving up their freedom, there are many who want to take away the freedom of others by force.
We are facing a large number of threats these days, including the ones described in the article above. What do you think various governments’ answers will be as far as preventing and responding to them? You guessed it! - additional restrictions upon the freedom of the individual. This has been happening for years, and has so much momentum now, that I fear it is not possible to stop it.
FREEDOM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD. We should value freedom above all other things and do everything in our power to preserve and promote it - no matter what the consequences or costs.
It is virtually impossible for a nation to walk the line of insuring safety, security, and justice, and not become a totalitarian state. I would rather live in a nation where occasionally some kid blows his fingers off with a firecracker, and sometimes someone’s house burns down because they didn’t adhere to the electrical code, than live in a country that resembles the former Soviet Union.
I can protect myself and my loved ones from dangerous consumer products and other hazards, but I can’t save us from a tyrannical government. That doesn’t mean however, that I wouldn’t be willing to die trying.