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Stephen Hawking says humans must colonize another planet in 100 years or face extinction

  • Stephen Hawking warned that humans must colonize another planet or face extinction.
  • In his upcoming documentary "Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth", the physicist says Earth is becoming "increasingly precarious" because of threats from epidemics and asteroids.
  • Hawking joins the likes of Elon Musk and Jack Ma in warning about the dangers of new technology.

Humans need to colonize another planet within 100 years or face the threat of extinction, high-profile physicist Stephen Hawking has warned.

In a new BBC documentary called "Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth" set to air later this year, the professor will "present his predictions that the human race only has 100 years before we need to colonize another planet," a press release from earlier this week said.

"With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious."

Previously, Hawking theorized that humanity probably has around 1,000 years left before it becomes extinct. His timeline appears now to have shortened. The famous physicist has issued a number of warnings about the future over the past few years.

At the start of 2016, Hawking warned about the dangers from nuclear war, global warming, genetically-engineered viruses and artificial intelligence (AI).

"Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years," Hawking told the BBC in an interview at the time.

"By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race," he added. "However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period."

Hawking is not the only major figure in the technology and science world that has warned about the threat to human existence. Earlier this year, billionaire Elon Musk said humans must somehow merge with machines or risk becoming irrelevant in the age of AI. The Tesla and SpaceX founder is working on a company called Neuralink to do just that.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma, meanwhile, also recently warned that society could face decades of "pain" because of the disruption caused by new technology and the internet.