In Brief
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how overpopulation is, and will be, a major concern for the next 500 years.
  • The future of humanity is reliant on scientific advancement, whether in space exploration or environmental conservation, major shifts are needed to ensure survival.

The exponential progress of society and technology makes predicting what will happen 50 years from now, or even just 5, an incredibly hard thing to do. So imagine how hard it would be to predict things 500 years from now.

But in this video from Tech Insider, Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and head of the Hayden Planetarium, looks at what will be one of the most pressing problems of the 2500s, using human history as a guide.

Back 500 years ago, humanity was engaged in the Age of Exploration, seeding the far flung corners of the Earth with settlements galore. Since then, humans have been rapidly spreading across the globe, leading to the current fears of overpopulation.

Tyson suspects that the same problem will be manifest 500 years in the future—but much worse. He says that, if the current trend continues, we’ll only have enough room for everyone to live standing up. To solve that, we need to make substantive changes. We’ll have to terraform Mars, engage in population control, or start living vertically instead of horizontally (think: vertical gardens, houses, etc).

We may need to even do all three.