A voice we should hear. Stephen Hawking warns us. He is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (US), he was for 30 years the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at University of Cambridge (the chair of Isaac Newton) and much more. He gives us a serious warning.
We are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity.
The last political signals were the election of Donald Trump, Brexit and the rise of right-wing populism. These show us the discontent of big parts of our society with the development. People are looking for a New Deal. The answers given by right-wing-populists are wrong. But the underlying problems are very serious.
Should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpouring of crude populism that fail to take account of the facts and an attempt to circumvent or circumscribe the choices that they represent? I think, that would be a terrible mistake.
The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalization and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.
This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms, that it makes possible, allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.
Another result of internet and modern information technology is, that the enormous wealth, that exists in North America and most parts of Europe, is clearly visible to poor people in all parts of the world. It`s no wonder, that migratory movements are triggered to an extend, rich countries cannot cope with. Therefore we must do more to encourage global development, as that is the only way, that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their future at home.
In our days we are facing challenges of unknown extend. The survival of mankind will become hard or even impossible within lifetime of babies born today. Social inequality within countries and worldwide will increase violent conflicts and cause migration movements, we`ve never seen before.
The rise of right-wing-populism is a wake-up call, not to play on the old game. That is thinking problems can be solved by uncontrolled economical growth and at the same time political powers try to expand their spheres of influence without taking account of consequences.
We are one world. We need compassion instead of greed. It`s not too late, but it will be soon.
Save our planet for mankind and stop ruthless exploitation!