Professor Stephen Hawking recently voiced his concern that artificial intelligence (AI) is rising at an alarming speed and also that robots might replace humans soon.
Professor Hawking, a renowned Cambridge physicist, has again issued a warning that AI will soon reach a level where it will “outperform humans.” In an interview with Wired, he went as far as to say that AI might replace humans in the near future.
“I fear that AI may replace humans altogether,” he said. “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.”
In the interview, Professor Hawking also said that people should get involved in science and claimed that if this did not happen, there would be “serious consequences.”
The 75-year-old added that he felt a new space program should be developed “with a view to eventually colonizing suitable planets for human habitation.”
“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.”
In October 2016, Professor Hawking spoke at the launch of Cambridge University’s artificial intelligence center about how AI could either transform or destroy society, and also about the dangers that it brings.
He said, “I believe there is no deep difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer. It therefore follows that computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence—and exceed it.
“Artificial intelligence is now progressing rapidly. Recent landmarks such as self-driving cars, or a computer winning at the game of Go, are signs of what is to come. Enormous levels of investment are pouring into this technology. The achievements we have seen so far will surely pale against what the coming decades will bring.”
He added, “The potential benefits of creating intelligence are huge. We cannot predict what we might achieve, when our own minds are amplified by AI. Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one—industrialization.”
“And surely we will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed, In short, success in creating AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization.
“But 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.”