Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, gave a lecture on 5 November at the School of Oriental and African Studies entitled ‘Peering into the Future: The Bumpy Road Ahead’. The meeting was co-hosted by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) and British Pugwash.
Our Earth is 45 million centuries old. But this century is the first when one species – ours – can determine the biosphere’s fate. There are threats to climate and biodiversity from the collective ‘footprint’ of 9 – 11 billion people seeking food, resources and energy. In addition, our globally-linked society is vulnerable to the unintended consequences of powerful new technologies – not only nuclear, but (even more) biotech, cyber, advanced A.I., and so forth. We need international guidelines to promote maximum benefits of new technologies, while minimizing catastrophic risks.