Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years.
I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.
Hawking explained that our only chance of survival would be outside of the Earth's sphere, on another planet or moon.
Luckily, since 2009 Nasa has been working on an escape plan for humans: by plotting the colonisation of Mars while also searching the galaxy for potentially habitable exoplanets that could sustain human life.
This isn't the first time that the perennial optimist has spoken of humanity's impending doom.
Let's just recap his Apocalypse-now record:
January 2007: moves the Doomsday Clock forward to indicate that nuclear war and climate change will kill us all
December 2014: Asserts that the development of full artificial intelligence could kill us all
January 2016: Warns that technological developments, such as nuclear war and genetically engineered viruses, will kill us all
October 2016: Thinks that Artificial Intelligence could either be the best or the worst thing to happen to humanity, possibly killing us all
Responses to this latest doom-mongering have been, shall we say, mixed.
If he was hoping to scare us all into good behaviour, he underestimated the nihilism, apocalyptic anarchy and suicidal ideation of 2016:
He did end his hilariously depressing speech on a somewhat uplifting note:
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.