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  • Physicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative with investor Yuri Milner in New York April 12, 2016.

    Physicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative with investor Yuri Milner in New York April 12, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 November 2017

“I believe there is no deep difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer," he said.

British physicist, philosopher and professor Stephen Hawking has warned that Artificial Intelligence, or AI, will soon create a “new form of life that will outperform humans,” possibly replacing humans altogether.

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He told Wired in a recent interview that “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."

"I believe there is no deep difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer," he added.

A report conducted by PwC, an international consulting firm, found that robotics will replace humans in 38 percent of all U.S. jobs by 2030.

Hawking urged more people to study science, saying there would be “serious consequences” if not. He suggested that societies would take a “view to eventually colonize suitable planets for human habitation (because) Earth is becoming too small for us."

"The global population is increasing at an alarming rate and we are in danger of self-destructing," he added.

Last year, Hawking warned that “autonomous weapons” controlled by a few could be used to eventually “oppress the many.”

The famed scientist added that AI could reverse some of the devastation industrialization has caused on the natural environments. He ended saying that AI technology is on the cusp of tremendously helping or hurting human civilization.

Two weeks ago, Cambridge University, Hawking’s alma mater and longtime place of work, made Hawking’s PhD graduate thesis available for free online. The 1966 publication, “Properties of Expanding Universes,” was downloaded over two million times within several days of its release.

With such a high volume of downloads of the document, Cambridge’s Open Access site released an apology to visitors saying that the site was “performing slower than usual and may at times be temporarily unavailable”.  


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