Although Stephen Hawking believes the Earth could be wiped out due to any number of reasons, including nuclear war or global warming, Seth Shostak, the director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) institute believes our demise will take place in the 21st century – at the hands of genetically manipulated humans, aka designer babies, and artificial intelligence, which will eventually spawn a new "alien" species, according to the Daily Mail.
"We can eventually produce offspring that are as different from us as dogs are from grey wolves," Shostak posted in an article on SETI's website. "I'm not talking about the various self-destructive threats of the moment - the ones that fill the papers and spark pontification on the nightly news. No, the three big things that I believe will take place in the 21st century are more profound, and not necessarily bad."
Shostak doesn't believe the genetic engineering of humans is a mere possibility – he believes it is an inevitability that will become commonplace in the future, no matter the opposition to it, according to Metro News.
"You may hesitate to endorse designer babies, but hot-rodding our children is as much on the horizon as the morning sun," he said.
In order to combat the Earth's imminent destruction, Shostak believes that we should further our human expansion into space not for exploration purposes, but in a search for resources, according to Inverse.
"Everyone expects our progeny to establish colonies on the moon or Mars, but the better deal is to build huge, orbiting habitats in which you can live without a spacesuit...The days of being confined to the bassinette of our birth are coming to an end," he said.
The biggest impact on humanity though, according to Shostak, will be super-intelligent robots.
"It is less a matter of improving our descendants than replacing them with our engineered successors," he said. "Perhaps we can promulgate our culture and ourselves by putting chips in our brains or simply uploading our brains to the machines. But you can be sure that the result will not be Homo sapiens as we've known him for 50,000 years."