Stephen Hawking believes that while AI can do some good, it can do a lot of harm and we need to be prepared for the risks involved. Stephen Hawking’s outlook on the future of AI isn’t so optimistic (Photo via Hawking.org.uk)

 

Casual, but maybe a little bit scary. The story of human civilization being overthrown by computers and AI has been turned into numerous books, movies, and TV shows. But it seemed like a threat only if you were really paranoid by technology. Well, maybe it’s time to panic now since Stephen Hawking said AI has the potential to destroy us and he knows what he’s talking about.

 

Hawking dropped this bombshell during a technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal. He says the only way we can prevent it is if we find a way to control computers. According to him, computers have the ability to “emulate human intelligence and exceed it.” And since we’re constantly looking for ways to improve AI it could be the best thing for society or the worst. “We just don't know,” he said. “So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it.”

 

He admitted that AI does have the potential to reverse the damage done to the natural world or even eradicate poverty and disease, but it’s the uncertainty of the future that sets off alarms for him. And we have to be ready for a worst-case scenario. Hawking says we have to learn how to prepare for an avoid risk with AI as it can bring along new dangers and can disrupt the economy.

This isn’t the first time he’s warned us about AI. He expressed his fears in a new interview with Wired. He too is afraid AI will outperform humans and will become so advanced it can create a new lifeform. And in case you wanted to hear more bad news he thinks the Earth is doomed too.

 

Earlier this year, he said humans have about 100 years to leave Earth to survive as a species. He’s become more vocal about finding a new planet to live on. Why so? Mainly because we’re running out of room on the planet we’re on, and our natural resources are disappearing. And, you know, there is global warming to think about.

 

Needless to say, he’s not very positive about the future. But he did point out new European legislations that establish new rules regarding AI and robots. And he doesn’t think all AI is bad. He knows some of it can be created for the good of the world, but he just wants people to be aware of the dangers and risk related to them. So, maybe we should keep this in mind before Google’s AlphaGo gets any smarter.

 

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