Stephen Hawking Warns: Robots, Nuclear War & Aliens Will Wipe Out Humanity In Less Than 100 Years

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Astrophysicist Professor Stephen Hawking has warned that the human civilization is entering the most dangerous 100 years in its history and faces extinction thanks to man-made threats such as artificial intelligence (AI), human aggression, and aliens [yes, you read it right].

While Hawking believes technology can ensure mankind’s survival, he simultaneously warns further developing AI could prove a fatal mistake. In a lengthy Q&A session on Reddit, Hawking explained how AI is humanity’s biggest existential threat:

“The real risk with AI isn’t malice but competence. A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.

“You’re probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you’re in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there’s an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants. Let’s not place humanity in the position of those ants.

“If they [artificially intelligent machines] become clever, then we may face an intelligence explosion, as machines develop the ability to engineer themselves to be far more intelligent. That might eventually result in machines whose intelligence exceeds ours by more than ours exceeds that of snails.”

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If our machines don’t kill us, we might kill ourselves, predicts the cosmologist. During a tour of London’s Science Museum, warning that a major nuclear war would be the end of human civilization Hawking urged people to be more empathetic given that aggression is the human race’s biggest failing which threatens to destroy the human race.

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The Independent quoted the scientist as saying:

The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.”

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Intelligence and aggression have the capacity to destroy us, but what does this mean for humanity’s chances of getting destroyed by aliens? Since past few years, Hawking has warned that if an intelligent, more advanced alien civilization exists, it would not be friendly to mistreating, less technologically advanced humans, and would have no problem in conquering and colonizing the planet and eventually wiping out the human race. In April 2010, Hawking noted:

“If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.  Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach. If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?”

During a media event at the Royal Society in London in July 2015, Hawking voiced his fears again:

“We don’t know much about aliens, but we know about humans. If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced. A civilization reading one of our messages could be billions of years ahead of us. If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.”

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6 COMMENTS

  1. that alien’s thing is more of a mental exercise than actual warning. first of all, the odds of two sentient species encountering themselves in the cosmos is exceedingly small. It’s not a question of if off worlders exist somewhere – its the odds of them existing at the same time, with the technology of one or both to travel the vast reaches of space.

    space travel itself may be so fundamentally difficult any participant would truly be an order of magnitude more advanced than our current civilization. when your on a camping trip, do you stop at the ant pile to explain your circumstance and journey to them? at absolute most, aliens might slow down their craft to examine us, just as we slow down and examine a car crash.

    • Advanced aliens would travel hyperdimensionally ..theoretically being able to travel vast distances in a few hours. Perhaps using worm holes..in a sense time travelling. Has it occured to you that crop circ les could be space time markers? Aliens may be interested in us as we are minks..ie as a resource. perhaps our DNA is of use in perfecting sentient biobots

  2. Advanced aliens live on Mars, read for free , Google ” Martian Alien Secrets Blurb Book ” dinosaurs, houses, roads, vehicles, advanced UFO bases on Mars and comet 67p

  3. Maybe the aliens will save us from the Artificial Intelligence or vice versa. I just hope they don’t use nuclear weapons to do so.

  4. The existence of aliens is a fascinating subject for us because we’re unsure whether or not they exist. An alien race that is in touch with thousands of other alien races wouldn’t have this fascination and would probably consider us, ‘mostly harmless’ and just pass on by.

    Any advanced race looking for resources would probably exploit asteroids with their low escape velocity and high concentrations of certain minerals, rather than bother with Earth. We’re no threat to anybody other than our fellow Terrans and there are no unique, exploitable resources on Earth that would encourage an alien presence to wipe us out.

    Of all the millions of species on our planet, we are the only ones that can be accused of psychopathy. Other animals may kill but there is usually a pragmatic reason for it rather than the sheer joy of killing and destructiveness. I think it highly unlikely that an advanced civilisation will be as insane as us.

    • Actually we have the most rare and precious resource from universe, living space.

      True that they might be capable to build inhabitable worlds. But that would be an expensive thing to do.

      Plus, natural worlds would be more interesting

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