In this week’s featured TED talk Lord Martin Rees, astronomer royal and former master of Trinity College, Cambridge, describes the existential threats that could spell the end of humanity.
This century, he observes, is the first where the fate of the entire world lies in the hands of just one species – ours.
While we all worry about minor dangers, our species is in denial about the possibility of truly cataclysmic scenarios.
“It’s not just the nuclear threat,” he explains.
“In our interconnected world, network failures can cascade globally. Air travel can spread pandemics worldwide within days. Social media can spread panic and rumour literally at the speed of light.”
While some such scenarios are unlikely, Rees asks, are they not worth preparing for when so much is at stake?
To watch this video on the TED website, click here.