Grey goo EARTH... pessimism?


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East Midlands, UK
Professor Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, says mankind has only an even chance of surviving the next century. What do you think?
He says on the one hand, that the odds of us surviving as our present civilisation to the next century are only 50-50, because of malign intent or misadventure; but the other hand our choices and actions could ensure the perpetual future of life.
His book on this topic will be published next month (May, 2003).
He cites the results of a grapefruit sized piece, lump, of enriched plutonium could have been used in a bomb on one of the planes in the attack on the WTC --- he also cites Bioterrorism as a major hazard, and supervolcanoes like the one under the caldera in Yellowstone Park, USA, Nanotechnology that running wild that could reduce the planet to grey goo in a matter of hours, Asteroid collision and Cyclotonic attempts to reproduce the 'Big-Bang', as well as climatic changes. He says these and other things make it fifty-fifty odds we will ensure our own destruction as a meaningful lifeform.... yet---
We could do so much to ensure the healthy survival of us all.
[move]What do you think? ;)[/move]
He's specualting! I don't see the "50-50" as having a mathematical basis, just an expression of his fears. :)

He raises important points - but I think your post suggests he is confusing "humanity" with "civlisation". It would be extremely difficult to eradicate huamnity. However, a major catastrophe destroying civilisation is far less unlikely - but not necessarily probable.