Stephen Hawking: 'AI May Replace Humans Altogether'

Friday, 03 November 2017 - 10:55AM
Friday, 03 November 2017 - 10:55AM
Stephen Hawking: 'AI May Replace Humans Altogether'
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Is AI the key to the future or the final nail in the coffin of mankind?

Stephen Hawking previously expressed his opinions on the subject on more than one occasion, saying that AI will be "either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity."

In a recent interview with Wired, the theoretical physicist leaned more toward a bleak future for humans, admitting that he is afraid AI will "replace humanity altogether."

"If people design computer viruses," Hawking continued, "someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans."

The fear of being replaced by technology is not new, but it has been heightened over the years as everything with a power supply has gotten smarter and faster.

Those who oppose the idea think it's all science-fiction paranoia (Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey), but now that chatbots can go on racist tirades and write horror stories on Twitter, a little paranoia may be the healthier response.

Stephen Hawking is of course not alone in his fear of a planet without talking, hairless apes.

Elon Musk has also expressed concerns about the "AI apocalypse."

He joined Hawking earlier this year in endorsing the Asilomar AI Principles, which are a set of 23 guidelines created by the Future of Life Institute to ensure that artificial intelligence remains a tool for good and not an instrument of evil.

So the question is, is Hawking sharing paranoia or prophecy?

Speaking earlier this year, he called not for the end of the study and creation of artificial intelligence, but for a "world government" that would allow us to identify threats more quickly and "act before they get out of control."

He also said that it's possible that such a organization could become a tyranny, so either way it looks like we're doomed.

Humanity: It was fun while it lasted.
Artificial Intelligence
Stephen Hawking: 'AI May Replace Humans Altogether'