Ziyad Basheer

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Where does humanity's near term future lie? Is it space or the deeps?

Some of you might have watched the BBC's excellent documentary "How Many People Can Live On Earth". While it does bring up some interesting issues such as the fast drawing exhaustion of the planet's resources due to overpopulation, waste, and lack of concern from humans. It only considers the observable resources, i.e. land resources. Since oceans cover the majority of the planet's surface, they obviously contain much more resources than mines or arable land. This is a part that the documentary largely ignored.

As professor Hawking himself said, "our future lies in the stars". We will eventually exhaust the planet's resources, be it in the next 100 or 500 years, but exploiting the depths is merely a "patch" per se, until we have developed a more sustainable solution, hasten our exploration of the cosmos and identify potential migration possibilities. While human migration is not in the foreseeable future; the idea of potentially harvesting resources from other planets and heavenly bodies is not as far-fetched.

I am curious as to what the TED community has to say about this, I have been thinking about it in solitude and am glad to have this outlet to share my thoughts and see other people's perspectives.

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    Jun 10 2011: I remember watching that a year ago when it was first air. I love David Attenborough. Why hasn't he been on TED yet? Anyway I do hope humanity expands into space, but indeed we're probably a long way off. In the meantime, we should think about mining asteroids. It would require a considerable investment, but the returns would be undoubtedly substantial.