New Year’s resolutions and predictions
The start of a New Year is a great time to reflect on the past year, on a personal and global level. It’s the time people make their New Year’s resolutions, which I’m sure 90% of people will include “I want to lose weight”. It is so fitting that our feature stories in this issue surround the topic of obesity, its prevalence in ASEAN, the association and impact of excess weight and NCD, as well as obesity interventions proposed by some countries.
On a less personal level, the start of a New Year is also the time, analysts and experts give their two cents on predicting the trends ahead.
Professor Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist and cosmologist, has made some scientific predications, on the future of humanity. For one, Hawking says that artificial intelligence (AI) and robots will one day outperform and eventually replace humans altogether. If people can design computer viruses, someone can design AI that will replicate itself. Hawking encourages moving forward on AI development but to be mindful of its very real dangers.
Hawking also predicted that the Earth will not be able to keep up with its increasing population growth, by 2600. According to Hawking, the global population has been doubling every 40 years, at this exponential growth, the planet cannot continue into the next millennium. He explained his prediction that soon, the human species will have to leave Earth and repopulate elsewhere in the universe, either on a spacecraft or on another planet. The physicist warned that if humans don’t become a multi-planetary species and settle on other worlds, our species could die out within the next century. And that is how long humans have left on Earth. This is a stark contrast to the 1,000 years Hawking proposed in 2016.
Hawking does not predict a very bright outlook for the future of humanity, which could dampen your New Year’s festivity. But we can always choose to do something about it. Humans are after all, the decision maker.
To kick off the new year, we wish our regular readers, a peaceful and prosperous 2018.