Stephen Hawking: Greed and Stupidity Will End Humanity Earlier than Expected

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Stephen Hawking

Although theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is not a soothsayer, he has in the past predicted the future of humanity. Hawking has warned us on countless occasions about how humans are actively pursuing Artificial Intelligence (AI) without caution; concerned it will spell the end of humanity in the future.

Mr Hawking believes the current AI race will eventually usher humans into a stage when machines will become more intelligent than humans. This is when the total annihilation of humans would begin, Hawking claims. Of course, the AI community prefers not to hear such a prominent and respected science proponent say such things. Hawking was heavily criticized within the AI community recently, facing accusations of being a pessimist, and should inculcate the spirit of positivism in the AI debate instead.

Stephen Hawking

But despite the criticisms, Hawking is still expressing his views as an independent thinker in the arena of public discourse. Apart from the AI apocalypse, Hawking has summarized vices in humans that he thinks will destroy any progress made since the Stone Age period to current times.

In an interview with Larry King on the Larry King Now talk show last year, the distinguished physicist said although he has talked about AI in the past as a tool that could spell doom for humans, he believes strongly that such inventions are inspired by human vices.

Hawking stated that greediness and stupidity are the biggest threats to humanity. He said these two vices will eventually drive humans into extinction, and earlier than he previously expected. According to Hawking, humans are becoming increasingly stupid and greedy with each passing day. He noted that there has been a massive air pollution problem in the last six years, killing many around the world.  Hawking said the situation will continue to worsen, bringing along more deaths and strange diseases in the near future.

Stephen Hawking

“We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid. The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting, with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100. Air pollution has increased over the past five years. More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution,” he said.

Hawking added that he is only reminding us of the things we are doing that will end up devouring us. Hawking’s warning is just like the hunter who finds a baby monster in the forest and brings it home. After nurturing the baby monster for it to grow into a giant beast, the monster eats the hunter one day.

Stephen Hawking

If you look at what is currently happening across the world, people are increasingly being exposed to automated things. Smartphones, robots working amid humans, and unmanned vehicles to name a few.

These machines are increasingly becoming more intelligent. On the other hand, humans seem to be losing their senses. Due to proliferation of smartphones and other integrated cell-phones; some are literally dying or injuring themselves, just for a common selfie.

Stephen Hawking

The United States Department of Transportation estimates that during 2014, in the so-called “year of the selfie,” 33,000 people were injured while driving and using a cell-phone in some fashion, which included talking, listening, and “manual button/control actuation” including taking, uploading, downloading, editing, or opening of selfies. Also, a 2015 survey by Erie Insurance Group found that 4% of all drivers admitted to taking selfies while driving.

Again, the Washington Post reported in January 2016 that about half of at least 27 selfie deaths in 2015 had occurred in India. No official data on the number of people who died taking selfies in India exists, but reports show from 2014 up to August 2016, there have been at least 54 deaths in India while taking selfies.

Stephen Hawking

This has encouraged the Indian Tourism Ministry to ask states to identify and barricade ‘selfie danger’ areas. The goal of the sign is to try and stop or reduce selfie-related deaths in the country.

So, you see, this is one of the exact stupidities Hawking is warning us about. Humans are becoming increasingly stupid while the machines they have created are becoming increasingly intelligent. The mockery of humanity has started. The machines seem to be controlling humans, not the other way around.


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27 COMMENTS

  1. Why dribble on about selfies and selfie related deaths?There’s always been idiots.At least today’s idiot can use a phone…that’s progress,even if they fall off a cliff doing it.
    You just come across as having ornery old man syndrome.Get off my lawn!!
    Of course tech will become intelligent beyond our grasp…that’s the goal,but to assume it will mean humans will simply no longer bother to try ,or learn is ignorant.
    Never in history has the average IQ of humans been higher,and it is because of the very devices you claim are making people stupid.Anything you want to know,at any time.

    • All info I have read says IQs are declining. If proof is I the pudding, just look around you. Of course, younger people cannot see the decline as older folks can.

    • Hahaha. You think average intelligence in increasing ?!?! Patently proven falsehood. Yes the intelligence of a few a the pointy end is indeed Increasing…. The average…sorry bud that is a sad and pathetic falsehood.

  2. If population is such a concern maybe we should stop worrying how many idiots lose their life taking idiot selfies…especially in india, 54 out of 2billion is hardly a relevant issue…theres probably more than that that get struck by lightning…

  3. Man has not shown himself able to constrain his destructive proclivities.

    I don’t human behaviour changing.

    If the universe’s experiment with intelligence is to continue – in this neck of the woods at least – then an AI may be the form that it takes. Hopefully, it learns from looking at the foolishness of its creators, and establishes limits to not go beyond with respect to disrupting complex ecologies. I know, I am asking that an AI successor to us somehow acquires a wisdom that we do not have. Perhaps because it will lack the evolutionary history that we carry around in our genes it will not suffer from the Achilles’ Heel that we suffer from, and that is the drive to consume whatever we can and grow to destroy the viability of our global ecology in its current form.

    I do not think that there is much doubt that we are in the early stages of a sixth mass extinction, and that we are the primary agent for it.

    Look in the mirror everyone. Do you like what you see. Ecce homo.

  4. I’ll admit I’m a bit confused by this article. While I agree that the impact of continuous pollution of the planet will definitely prove detrimental to humanity, I’m having trouble connecting the dots between astrophysics, pollution, artificial intelligence and death by selfies. The quotes you selected are almost completely irrelevant to the rest of the your article. If you want to rant at length about impending doom from all directions and blame it on some vague form of collective hubris, be my guest, but it seems rather ridiculous to attribute the connection you’ve made about cellphone usage and artificially intelligent machine overlords to Stephen Hawking.

  5. How’s it feel to be crazy. Don’t you think that you know. Can’t you see we’re all crazy. Started long time ago. In the start things evolved nicely then it came, Homo sapien. And with us, will come the destruction. Look out for this creature called man!

  6. I think it might be simpler than that. What fuels their greed? What is it that makes them greedy beyond being obscenely rich already? Is it some form of addiction, such as cocaine? Are their deviant tendancies driven from substance abuse? Are there too many people in government, media & banking who are too far gone for rehab? The current situation we have in the west is about austerity for the public, more wealth for the rich. Why’s that? Taxes are still being paid, & western nations never really cared​ about debt. Are they all insane & greedy because of addiction to high grade cocaine? It’s this the reason the CIA likes to be in on the drugs trade from South America, that some of it is destined for the corrupt? Could some of the scandals (Pizzagate, etc) be attributed to substance abuse (not that it should be used as an excuse)?

    • The substance abuse we all suffer from is the seven deadly sins….pride, greed, gluttony, etc. human beings want what they want when they want it without any thought about how it affects others. Was not that way when they needed each other to merely survive. Society is so fractured that it has become a ME, ME, ME world.

  7. Einstein said, “There are only two things without any limits. One is the universe and the other is human stupidity”.

  8. People are also becoming more isolated from others in society by being on their smartphones and talking to themselves. This in itself is scary.

  9. When was the last time the internet was shut down? How can you say with certainty that it does not react/think on its own if it has never been completely turned off? Are we so sure that it cannot think/react on its own?

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