March 13

Earth and Beyond

Wednesday’s Big Idea

Existential Risk

Here's a rough calculation: there is the potential for there to be 10^54 future humans lives – lives that also have the potential to be far richer in experience than the comparatively drab ones we live today.  

Such is the potential cost of existential risk. A failure to act on threats that are readily identifiable to us today could result not only in taking contemporary intelligent life on Earth out of the game forever but would also prevent 10^54 future humans lives from ever happening. That's a heavy burden.

So what, exactly, constitutes an existential risk? In today's lesson, Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us that Earth is not the safe pale blue dot we like to think of it as but is actually in the midst of a cosmic shooting gallery. As Tyson points out, we have known about this for some time, but our failure to take appropriate action leaves us incredibly vulnerable. 

 

 

  1. 1 We Live in a Cosmic Shooting Gallery
  2. 2 An Asteroid Could Smash Us
  3. 3 Can We Save the Human Race?
  4. 4 The Sky IS falling. Should We Worry?
   
  1. We Live in a Cosmic Shooting Gallery

    We Live in a Cosmic Shooting Gallery

    We are not the safe small blue dot we like to think we are, but rather, we are more like a target in a "cosmic shooting gallery."

    Read More…
  2. An Asteroid Could Smash Us

    An Asteroid Could Smash Us

    Fortunately, the technology to intercept and destroy renegade space matter is no longer a Hollywood myth.

    Read More…
  3. Can We Save the Human Race?

    Can We Save the Human Race?

    We aren’t doing enough. The human race is in more danger than it might seem.

    Read More…
  4. The Sky IS falling. Should We Worry?

    The Sky IS falling. Should We Worry?

    If astronomers spot a big one headed our way, our risk perception will switch to “It COULD happen to me, and SOON” and we’ll take the threat more seriously.

    Read More…