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  • Ten years ago, I wrote a book which I entitled

    十年前,我寫了一本書。

  • "Our Final Century?" Question mark.

    書名為《 我們的末世紀?》以問號結尾。

  • My publishers cut out the question mark. (Laughter)

    我的出版商去掉了問號。(笑聲)

  • The American publishers changed our title

    美國出版商把我們的書名

  • to "Our Final Hour."

    改成了《我們的末日》。

  • Americans like instant gratification and the reverse.

    美國人喜歡即刻的滿足與逆反。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • And my theme was this:

    我的主題是這樣的,

  • Our Earth has existed for 45 million centuries,

    我們的地球已經存在了四千五百多萬個世紀。

  • but this one is special

    但這個世紀是特殊的,

  • it's the first where one species, ours,

    第一次有一個物種,也就是我們,

  • has the planet's future in its hands.

    掌握了這個星球的命運。

  • Over nearly all of Earth's history,

    地球過去的歷史中,

  • threats have come from nature

    威脅主要來源於自然——

  • disease, earthquakes, asteroids and so forth

    疾病、地震、小行星等等——

  • but from now on, the worst dangers come from us.

    但是從今往後,最大的威脅來源於我們自己。

  • And it's now not just the nuclear threat;

    現今不止是核威脅,

  • in our interconnected world,

    在這個相互連接的世界裡,

  • network breakdowns can cascade globally;

    網路故障可以波及全球,

  • air travel can spread pandemics worldwide within days;

    航空旅行可以在幾天內將流行病傳遍世界。

  • and social media can spread panic and rumor

    社會媒體簡直能以光速

  • literally at the speed of light.

    散播恐慌和謠言。

  • We fret too much about minor hazards

    我們太過苦惱於那些次要的危害,

  • improbable air crashes, carcinogens in food,

    像是發生概率極小的空難、食品中的致癌物、

  • low radiation doses, and so forth

    低輻射等等。

  • but we and our political masters

    但我們和政治領袖們

  • are in denial about catastrophic scenarios.

    卻否認那些災難性的情節。

  • The worst have thankfully not yet happened.

    幸運的是最可怕的事情還沒有發生,

  • Indeed, they probably won't.

    的確,他們可能不會發生。

  • But if an event is potentially devastating,

    但是如果有一件事具潛在的毀滅性,

  • it's worth paying a substantial premium

    那就值得我們付出大量的精力與金錢。

  • to safeguard against it, even if it's unlikely,

    把它掐死在搖籃裡,即使它不太可能發生。

  • just as we take out fire insurance on our house.

    這就像給我們的房子買火災險。

  • And as science offers greater power and promise,

    科學提供了更強大的力量和保證,

  • the downside gets scarier too.

    隨之而來的負面影響也變得更加可怕,

  • We get ever more vulnerable.

    我們變得更加脆弱。

  • Within a few decades,

    數十年之內,

  • millions will have the capability

    數百萬人將會有能力

  • to misuse rapidly advancing biotech,

    濫用飛速發展的生物技術,

  • just as they misuse cybertech today.

    就像他們今天濫用網路技術一樣。

  • Freeman Dyson, in a TED Talk,

    費裡曼•戴森在TED演講中

  • foresaw that children will design and create new organisms

    預言孩子們會設計並創造新的有機體,

  • just as routinely as his generation played with chemistry sets.

    就像他們那一代人擺弄化學裝置一樣平常。

  • Well, this may be on the science fiction fringe,

    好吧,這大概已經到科幻小說的邊緣了,

  • but were even part of his scenario to come about,

    但是即使他情節中一小部份發生了,

  • our ecology and even our species

    我們的生態系統乃至整個人類種族

  • would surely not survive long unscathed.

    必定不會安然無恙地存活太久。

  • For instance, there are some eco-extremists

    比如說,有一些生態極端主義者

  • who think that it would be better for the planet,

    認為如果能大大減少人口,

  • for Gaia, if there were far fewer humans.

    那會對這整個星球和大地母親更好。

  • What happens when such people have mastered

    當這樣的人掌握了

  • synthetic biology techniques

    那些將在2050年普及的合成生物技術,

  • that will be widespread by 2050?

    會發生什麽?

  • And by then, other science fiction nightmares

    到那時,其他科幻小說中的噩夢

  • may transition to reality:

    也可能變為現實。

  • dumb robots going rogue,

    成了流氓的愚蠢機器人

  • or a network that develops a mind of its own

    或者一套發展出自我意識的網路系統

  • threatens us all.

    威脅我們所有人。

  • Well, can we guard against such risks by regulation?

    那麼,我們能不能通過條例來防範這樣的風險?

  • We must surely try, but these enterprises

    無疑我們必將嘗試,

  • are so competitive, so globalized,

    但那些企業是如此求勝心切,

  • and so driven by commercial pressure,

    如此全球化,如此被商業壓力所驅使,

  • that anything that can be done will be done somewhere,

    以至於他們會不擇手段,

  • whatever the regulations say.

    不管法規條例說了些什麽。

  • It's like the drug lawswe try to regulate, but can't.

    這就像製毒法律——我們試圖管制,但做不到。

  • And the global village will have its village idiots,

    地球村裡將會有些愚蠢的村民,

  • and they'll have a global range.

    影響到整個地球。

  • So as I said in my book,

    所以就像我在書中所說,

  • we'll have a bumpy ride through this century.

    我們會在顛簸中走完這個世紀。

  • There may be setbacks to our society

    我們的社會可能會遭遇挫折——

  • indeed, a 50 percent chance of a severe setback.

    事實上,有 50% 的機率是極其嚴重的挫折。

  • But are there conceivable events

    但是,能否想像

  • that could be even worse,

    更糟糕的事件,

  • events that could snuff out all life?

    那些可以毀滅所有生命的事件?

  • When a new particle accelerator came online,

    當一台新的粒子加速器開始運行時,

  • some people anxiously asked,

    有人焦急地問

  • could it destroy the Earth or, even worse,

    它會毀滅地球嗎?

  • rip apart the fabric of space?

    或者更糟,撕破時空的結構?

  • Well luckily, reassurance could be offered.

    幸運的是對此我們可以放心,

  • I and others pointed out that nature

    我和其他一些人指出

  • has done the same experiments

    大自然已經將同樣的實驗

  • zillions of times already,

    通過宇宙射線的撞擊

  • via cosmic ray collisions.

    做了無數次。

  • But scientists should surely be precautionary

    但是對於那些在自然界中

  • about experiments that generate conditions

    沒有先例的實驗,

  • without precedent in the natural world.

    科學家們應該警鐘長鳴,

  • Biologists should avoid release of potentially devastating

    生物學家應該預防

  • genetically modified pathogens.

    具有潛在毀滅性的轉基因病原體。

  • And by the way, our special aversion

    順便說一句,我們對於

  • to the risk of truly existential disasters

    毀滅性災難的風險尤其反感,

  • depends on a philosophical and ethical question,

    這是基於一個哲學倫理問題。

  • and it's this:

    這個問題是這樣的。

  • Consider two scenarios.

    想像如下兩個場景:

  • Scenario A wipes out 90 percent of humanity.

    情景 A:90%的人類會消亡;

  • Scenario B wipes out 100 percent.

    情景 B:100%的人類會消亡。

  • How much worse is B than A?

    情景 B 比情景 A 糟糕多少呢?

  • Some would say 10 percent worse.

    有人會說糟糕 10%,

  • The body count is 10 percent higher.

    因為死亡人數多 10%。

  • But I claim that B is incomparably worse.

    但我堅持情景 B 是無比糟糕的。

  • As an astronomer, I can't believe

    做為天文學家,我無法相信

  • that humans are the end of the story.

    人類是整個故事的結尾。

  • It is five billion years before the sun flares up,

    在太陽開始燃燒的五十億年前,宇宙就誕生了,

  • and the universe may go on forever,

    而且可能會永遠持續下去。

  • so post-human evolution,

    因此,在地球和及其遙遠的地方,

  • here on Earth and far beyond,

    後人類的進化會被延長,

  • could be as prolonged as the Darwinian process

    就像產生了我們人類的式的達爾文式進化過程,

  • that's led to us, and even more wonderful.

    甚至更加絕妙。

  • And indeed, future evolution will happen much faster,

    事實上,未來的進化會發生得更快,

  • on a technological timescale,

    會在一個技術時間尺度上,

  • not a natural selection timescale.

    而不是一個自然選擇的時間尺度上。

  • So we surely, in view of those immense stakes,

    所以,考慮到這些重大的利害關係,

  • shouldn't accept even a one in a billion risk

    我們不應該接受哪怕十億分之一的風險,

  • that human extinction would foreclose

    因人類滅絕而中止了

  • this immense potential.

    這巨大潛力的風險。

  • Some scenarios that have been envisaged

    有些設想中的情景

  • may indeed be science fiction,

    的確可能只會在科幻小說裡出現,

  • but others may be disquietingly real.

    但其他的一些可能會是令人不安的現實。

  • It's an important maxim that the unfamiliar

    一句重要的格言這麼說:

  • is not the same as the improbable,

    不熟悉不等於不可能。

  • and in fact, that's why we at Cambridge University

    事實上,這就是為什麽我們正在劍橋大學

  • are setting up a center to study how to mitigate

    創建一個中心來研究

  • these existential risks.

    如何緩解這些生存風險。

  • It seems it's worthwhile just for a few people

    看來讓一小部分人

  • to think about these potential disasters.

    思考這些潛在災難是值得的。

  • And we need all the help we can get from others,

    我們需要可以從其他人那裡得到的所有幫助。

  • because we are stewards of a precious

    因為我們是來自茫茫宇宙中

  • pale blue dot in a vast cosmos,

    那顆珍貴暗藍色圓石上的守護者,

  • a planet with 50 million centuries ahead of it.

    一顆已經走過五千多萬個世紀的星球,

  • And so let's not jeopardize that future.

    所以請我們不要危及它的未來。

  • And I'd like to finish with a quote

    我想用一段偉大科學家彼得•梅達沃的話

  • from a great scientist called Peter Medawar.

    結束今天的演講,這段話是這樣的:

  • I quote, "The bells that toll for mankind

    「為人類敲響的鐘

  • are like the bells of Alpine cattle.

    就像阿爾卑斯山上牛的鈴鐺,

  • They are attached to our own necks,

    繫在我們自己的脖子上。

  • and it must be our fault if they do not make

    如果它們沒有發出和諧悠揚的樂聲,

  • a tuneful and melodious sound."

    那一定是我們自己的錯。」

  • Thank you very much.

    非常感謝。

  • (Applause)

    (掌聲)

Ten years ago, I wrote a book which I entitled

十年前,我寫了一本書。

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【TED】馬丁•里斯爵士: 我們能阻止世界末日嗎? (Martin Rees: Can we prevent the end of the world?)

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