Unconventional takes on pandemics and nuclear protection may shield humanity from catastrophic failure – YubaNet

April 16, 2021 – From engineered pandemics to city-toppling cyber assaults to nuclear annihilation, life on Earth may transform, and shortly. Scientists will forecast the destiny of the planet at a press convention through the 2021 APS April Meeting.

Launch of SM-3 Block IB interceptor from guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70). Credit: U.S. Navy

“Our Earth is 45 million centuries old. But this century is the first when one species—ours—can determine the biosphere’s fate,” stated Martin Rees, the United Kingdom’s Astronomer Royal and a founding father of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risks at Cambridge University.

“Our globally-linked society is vulnerable to the unintended consequences of powerful new technologies—not only nuclear, but (even more) biotech, cyber, advanced AI, space technology,” he added.

Royal astronomer predicts the world in 2050 and past

Rees thinks biohackers pose a very underappreciated risk to humanity. In the close to future, easy gear will allow individuals to reengineer the human genome irrevocably or construct a superspreading influenza. Like drug legal guidelines, laws may by no means stop all such actions—and in a world extra interconnected than ever earlier than, the implications would unfold globally.

He will talk about different risks: inhabitants rise resulting in plummeting biodiversity, disastrous local weather change, uncontrollable cybercriminals, plans for synthetic intelligence that erodes privateness, safety, and freedom.

But Rees is an optimist. He will provide a path towards avoiding these dangers and reaching a sustainable future higher than the world we reside in right now.

“If all of us passengers on ‘spaceship Earth’ want to ensure that we leave it in better shape for future generations we need to promote wise deployment of new technologies, while minimizing the risk of pandemics, cyberthreats, and other global catastrophes,” he stated.

Scaling again missile protection may stop a nuclear assault

A single nuclear weapon may kill tens of millions and destroy a metropolis instantaneously. Hundreds of weapons may wipe out functioning society in a big nation. Even a restricted nuclear struggle may trigger a local weather disaster, resulting in the hunger of a whole lot of tens of millions of individuals.

Recently, Russia, China, and North Korea have deployed new sorts of almost unstoppable missiles.

“Missile defense is an idea that can sound appealing at first—doesn’t defense sound like the right thing to do?” stated Frederick Lamb, astrophysicist on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, cochair of the 2003 APS Study of Boost-Phase Missile Defense, and chair of the present APS Panel on Public Affairs Study of Missile Defense and National Security.

“But when the technical challenges and arms race implications are considered, one can see that deploying a system that is intended to defend against intercontinental ballistic missiles is unlikely to improve the security of the United States,” he stated.

Lamb factors to the United Kingdom’s resolution to extend its nuclear arsenal by 44%, probably motivated by Russia’s new missile protection system round Moscow. He sees the transfer as yet one more signal that current limits on nuclear weapons are unraveling. Even missile defenses that will by no means work in follow can catalyze the event of recent nuclear weapons and enhance world danger.

Lamb will share what could occur if the United States ramps up new missile protection techniques.

“What is done about nuclear weapons and missile defenses by the United States and other countries affects the safety and survival of every person on the planet,” he stated. Information in regards to the press convention to be held on Zoom at 11:00 am CDT, Monday, April 19, 2021:  https://aps.org/newsroom/april/fate-planet.cfm


  • Martin Rees (Cambridge)
  • Frederick Lamb (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


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