The chances of a catastrophic event happening are increasing, Stephen Hawking warns. The famous physicist claims that the threat may stem from mankind’s progress in science and technology such as nuclear war, global warming and genetically engineered viruses.

According to Hawking, the risk of a disaster on planet Earth occuring in a given year is low but this adds up over time, setting the terrible fate to happen in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years. However, by that time, humanity should have travelled into space and to other stars, suggesting that humans will be able to sustain space colonies in the next 100 years.

The scientist claimed that progress will never be stopped or reversed so everyone must be cautioned of the imminent dangers it brings. Still, Hawking is optimistic that mankind is capable of handling this challenge.

Wikimedia/ United States Department of EnergyDonald Acosta | Australia Network News

Wikimedia/ United States Department of Energy

Speaking to the Radio Times ahead of his BBC Reith Lecture, Hawking added that science and technology are changing the world dramatically, so it is crucial to ensure that the changes are headed toward the right direction. In other words, everyone needs to have at least a basic understanding of science to make informed decisions.

Hawking, who turned 74 this month, also said that a keen sense of humor kept him going after being diagnosed with a motor neuron disease. The scientist said that his expectations were down to zero upon turning 21 years old but he learned to realize that he has been fortunate in almost everything else.

Luckily, his disability did not stop him from working in theoretical physics. He noted that no matter how difficult life is, it is still important not to be angry because you may lose all hope if you cannot laugh at yourself and at life.

Additionally, Hawking stated that it may be possible to fall into a black hole and appear in another universe. But, this black hole has to be a big and spinning one and it would be impossible to return back to the universe to which we came from.

Interestingly, he does not see himself as an introvert. Doing a lot of thinking does not automatically mean that Hawking does not like parties and never gets into trouble.

Moreover, Hawking asserts that his speech synthesizer has allowed him to express his personality, interact with others and give popular lectures about science.  He may have ended up with an American accent but he is grateful nonetheless.