Without a ‘world government’ technology will destroy us, says Stephen Hawking
‘This aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason’
(The Independent) — Stephen Hawking has warned that technology needs to be controlled in order to prevent it from destroying the human race.
The world-renowned physicist, who has spoken out about the dangers of artificial intelligence in the past, believes we need to establish a way of identifying threats quickly, before they have a chance to escalate.
“Since civilisation began, aggression has been useful inasmuch as it has definite survival advantages,” he told The Times.
“It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason.”
He suggests that “some form of world government” could be ideal for the job, but would itself create more problems.
“But that might become a tyranny,” he added. “All this may sound a bit doom-laden but I am an optimist. I think the human race will rise to meet these challenges.”
In a Reddit AMA back in 2015, Mr Hawking said that AI would grow so powerful it would be capable of killing us entirely unintentionally.
“The real risk with AI isn’t malice but competence,” Professor Hawking said. “A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.
“You’re probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you’re in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there’s an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants. Let’s not place humanity in the position of those ants.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk shares a similar viewpoint, having recently warned that humans are in danger of becoming irrelevant.
“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” he said, suggesting that people could merge with machines in the future, in order to keep up.
Stephen Hawking Warns of New World Order Agenda
Who is Stephen Hawking?
Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA (born 8 January 1942) is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works include a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set forth a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Hawking is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and has achieved commercial success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; his book A Brief History of Time appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.
Hawking has a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that has gradually paralysed him over the decades. He now communicates using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device.
Early life and education
Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England to Frank (1905–1986) and Isobel Hawking (née Walker; 1915–2013). His mother was Scottish. Despite their families’ financial constraints, both parents attended the University of Oxford, where Frank read medicine and Isobel read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Hawking has two younger sisters, Philippa and Mary, and an adopted brother, Edward.
Hawking’s first year as a doctoral student was difficult. He was initially disappointed to find that he had been assigned Dennis William Sciama, one of the founders of modern cosmology, as a supervisor rather than noted astronomer Fred Hoyle, and he found his training in mathematics inadequate for work in general relativity and cosmology. After being diagnosed with motor neurone disease, Hawking fell into a depression; though his doctors advised that he continue with his studies, he felt there was little point. However, his disease progressed more slowly than doctors had predicted. Although Hawking had difficulty walking unsupported and his speech was almost unintelligible, an initial diagnosis that he had only two years to live proved unfounded. With the encouragement of Sciama, he returned to his work. Hawking started developing a reputation for brilliance and brashness when he publicly challenged the work of Fred Hoyle and his student Jayant Narlikar at a lecture in June 1964.
When Hawking began his graduate studies, there was much debate in the physics community about the prevailing theories of the creation of the universe: the Big Bang and the Steady State theories. Inspired by Roger Penrose’s theorem of a spacetime singularity in the centre of black holes, Hawking applied the same thinking to the entire universe; and, during 1965, he wrote his thesis on this topic. There were other positive developments: Hawking received a research fellowship at Gonville and Caius College. He obtained his PhD degree in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, specialising in general relativity and cosmology, in March 1966, and his essay entitled “Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time” shared top honours with one by Penrose to win that year’s prestigious Adams Prize.