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Stephen Hawking sets time limit for mankind

Technically Incorrect: In a speech at the Oxford Union, the physicist reportedly suggests we still have time, but not that much.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Hawking puts a time limit on our survival.

Karwai Tang, WireImage

So how long have we got to sort out this mess?

No, I'm not talking about the political system. Only our alien invaders can help us with that.

I'm talking about mankind itself. How long can we survive before we self-immolate, one way or another?

Stephen Hawking has reportedly decided to put a time limit on our survival. Speaking at the Oxford Union on Monday, the celebrated physicist offered optimistic tones.

As the Independent reports, he offered praise for human achievement: "The fact that we humans, who are ourselves mere fundamental particles of nature, have been able to come this close to understanding the laws that govern us and the universe is certainly a triumph."

We have done quite well, haven't we? The sad part is, I suspect, that we think we've done better than we have. Our inner doofus still plagues us in many ways.

At heart, though, Hawking believes our planet simply won't survive what we're doing to it. Whether or not you believe global warming is real or merely a Chinese invention, the wear and tear on our world is clear.

Here's how long we've got according to Hawking: "I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet."

1,000 years seems like quite a long time to me. So many years to repair things, or mess them up very quickly.

In January, Hawking explained that the next 100 years are the most frightening. There won't, he believes, be any Mars colonies before then.

Some, though, believe we'll be at least part-robot in 15 years' time. So will Mars colonies matter? Won't we all be bits of metal and plastic in 2116?

I thought that after the events of recent days and months, predictions had become discredited. Last year, for example, Hawking said we should fear capitalism more than robots.

Might that turn out to be accurate?

On Monday, though, he told his audience that -- like SNL's Hillary Clinton -- the most important thing for today's young brains was not to give up.

One way to move forward is to find out what's really out there in space. You could lobby the new president to reveal everything about Area 51, a US Air Force facility in Nevada where they say evidence of alien life is kept in secret vaults.

Clinton promised that, if elected, she'd reveal all. Will President Donald Trump?