Professor Stephen Hawking is in the news again. He is sounding two alarms: one that apocalyptic conflict is going to render humanity extinct and, therefore, the human race must colonize other planets to save itself, and two that artificial intelligence spells our doom as human beings. He cannot be more self-contradictory in his concern for our species.
Outer space is an unforgiving and unsurvivable world. Earth, the cradle of humankind, is truly our only home. We would be better off focusing on resolving our disputes on Earth and living peacefully than escaping Earth for space.
In fact, achieving peace on Earth is far more feasible than colonizing other planets. Moreover, successfully colonizing other planets is not possible without first accomplishing peace on Earth, for without peace at home earthly conflicts will only be carried over beyond home. Saving Earth, humanity’s natural habitat, not escaping its destruction, is the case for both technology and outer space.
Technically, advanced technologies that are needed to colonize hostile extraterrestrial worlds require artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, such as HAL 9000 of 2001: A Space Odyssey, contending with the human mind is an eventuality we will have to deal with.
Colonizing other planets is feasible only if we, as a species of Earth, learn to first decolonize it and live with it in harmony.