Stephen Hawking is Terrified of Artificial Intelligence

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking ain't afraid of no black holes, but you know what he's afraid of? Artificial intelligence.

In his op-ed at The Independent, Hawking noted the release of the new Hollywood movie Transcendence starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman and opined that Artificial Intelligence or AI has huge potential. Hawking called "success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history" - but warned that it could also be humanity's last achivement:

One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.

If Hawking is already terrified about the role of AI in the future of humanity over the Transcendence movie, let's hope he's never seen the Terminator franchise. Read the rest of Hawking's op-ed over at The Independent. (Photo: 20100/Wikimedia)


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General purpose quantum computing on a significant, practical scale is probably still more than a decade away. Even then is not a panacea of computer performance woes, as there is a very short list of algorithms for them, some of which may end up still slower on a quantum computer than a conventional one.
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It's a great collection. Ellison was near his peak when he wrote it. He, like many others, really shine in shorter formats. It's a pity they're not as marketable as a full novel. But they certainly work well for the film industry. I doubt Phillip K. Dick has much that's in the 300ppg range. But he certainly has a great list of film credits.

As for being long gone.. with recent advances in quantum tech (http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/13946/20140410/new-atom-photon-switch-herald-breakthrough-quantum-computers.htm) we'll certainly have the tech to create an AI in a decade or less.
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You need to read "I have no mouth and I must scream" a short (part of a collection) by Harlan Ellison. It's the basis for the Terminator series. The movies did not even come close to the horrors of the AI.

I just think this is a natural evolutionary step for our planet and consciousness. We are a byproduct of the planet's growth, so too are machines. We have done nothing but lay waste to the living order from which were spawned. It is only logical to see the progression continue from us. A kind gentle AI that will give humanity a utopian existence? Pollyanna wishes. It will behave exactly as the process from which it was spawned... only more-so. I think it would be, in all likelihood, be better to be at ground zero when it begins the extermination process. Ellison was very prophetic in his vision of this.
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