Physicist Stephen Hawking has warned that human beings would perish and the earth would become a sizzling fireball in less than six centuries, The Sun reported on Monday. To ensure that humanity survives for another million years, humans must “boldly go where no one has gone before”, he said.

Speaking via a video link at the Tencent WE Summit in Beijing, Hawking said the earth would heat up because of the soaring energy consumption as the population rises. He asked investors for support to his plans of finding another liveable planet close to the solar system.

At another event in Lisbon on Monday, Hawking said the growth of artificial intelligence needed to be controlled, and it could be either the “worst or the best thing” to have happened to humanity.

Technology can reverse some of the harm that industrialisation has caused, and it can help end disease and poverty, but artificial intelligence was posing challenges, Hawking said at the 2017 Web Summit. It could be used to help society, but “we simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance”, Hawking added.