Skip to content

Stephen Hawking’s Habitual Doomsday Hype

Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News (2014) David Whitehouse, BBC News (2001)

Stephen Hawking’s hyperbolic predictions of doomsday disasters had become increasingly wide-ranging and unreasonable over the years.

Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence. He told the BBC: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

BBC News 2001: Scientists criticise Hawking ‘hype’

Professor Stephen Hawking’s latest fears for the future of humanity have been criticised by academics for being contradictory and little more than hype for his forthcoming book.


The famous physicist said that the human race was likely to be wiped out by a man-made, doomsday virus before the millennium was out, unless we set up colonies in space.

He told a UK national newspaper that genetic engineering could be used to “improve” human beings to meet the challenges of long-duration space travel. Professor Hawking’s comments came in advance of his new publication entitled The Universe in a Nutshell.

But Dr Benny Peiser, from Liverpool John Moores University, UK, was highly critical of the reported remarks. He told BBC News Online that Hawking’s predictions of terrestrial disaster had become increasingly wide-ranging and unreasonable in recent years.

And space visionary Sir Arthur C Clarke told BBC News Online: “I am surprised Professor Hawking didn’t mention the danger of an asteroid impact which is inevitable sooner or later. Admittedly, this is most unlikely to wipe out the human race, but it could send us back to the Stone Age.”

Finding remedies

Leading British anthropologist Dr Benny Peiser described the comments in the Daily Telegraph newspaper as “regrettable hype”.

“Over a year ago, he warned that the Earth was likely to get hotter and hotter as a result of manmade CO2 emissions ‘until it will be like Venus with boiling sulphuric acid’… Now, drawing on the dread of bioterrorism, his latest doomsday prophecy foretells our certain self-destruction as a result of biological research.”

He added: “Apocalyptics typically exaggerate the possible dangers we may face in the future while ignoring or underestimating the probability of finding a social, technological or medical remedy for the predicament.”

Full story


Prophet of Doom

Prophet of Doomsday: Stephen Hawking, eco-warrior

Hawking: Global warming to make Earth like Venus

Stephen Hawking predicts bio-engineering catastrophe

Stephen Hawking predicts end-of-Earth scenario

Prof Stephen Hawking: man faces nuclear armageddon and must colonise space

Human race ‘must colonise space or face extinction’, warns Stephen Hawking