Stephen Hawking fears AI will replace humanity

Prof. Stephen Hawking believes artificial intelligence eventually will outperform humans.
By Delila James | Nov 07, 2017
In a recent interview with Wired magazine, renowned astrophysicist Prof. Stephen Hawking conjured up a gloomy specter of the future of artificial intelligence (AI), saying the technology eventually will replace human beings.

"I fear that AI may replace humans altogether," the 75-year-old Hawking said, as reported by Cambridge News. "If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans."

Hawking has an equally dark view of the future of planet Earth. He believes new space programs are urgently needed with an eye to finding and colonizing habitable planets.

"I believe we have reached the point of no return," he said. "Our earth is becoming too small for us, global population is increasing at an alarming rate and we are in danger of self-destructing."

Last year, when Hawking spoke at the launch of Cambridge University's artificial intelligence center, he said there is no significant difference between what a biological brain and a computer can do.

"It therefore follows that computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence and exceed it," Hawking said.

While the potential benefits of AI are enormous, so are the potential pitfalls.

"Every aspect of our lives will be transformed," Hawking said, and advances in AI "could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization."

"But," he added, "it could also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. Alongside the benefits, AI will also bring dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many."

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