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

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.


Greed and stupidity are Stephen Hawking’s biggest fears

In an interview with Larry King, the famous physicist Stephen Hawking spoke about thebiggest threats to humanity. Hawking, who was interviewed from the Canary Islands, Spain, where he will be honored at the Starmus Festival, said that pollution, greed, and stupidityare the greatest humankind threats to Earth.

According to Hawking, there has been a progressive increase in air pollution and the emission of levels of carbon dioxide in the last five years.

In an interview with Larry King, the famous physicist Stephen Hawking spoke about the biggest threats to humanity. Photo credit: Concierto
In an interview with Larry King, the famous physicist Stephen Hawking spoke about the biggest threats to humanity.

He says that air pollution has grown by 8 percent over during this time. Regarding this number, he says that it could be eleven billion by 2100. He says that more than 80 percent of urban dwellers are exposed to such unsafe levels of air pollution. Global warming is the most alarming issue in Earth. He wonders whether it would be too late to avoid the threats of global warming.

During the interview, Hawking recalls having been worried about pollution and overcrowding six years ago expressing that this has not get better since then. In the 2010 interview with King, Hawking expressed his concern about our overcrowding and human stupidity.

“We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet,” he said.

Last month, Hawking warned on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, that our country could reach a temperature similar to Venus -a staggering 250C- if we do not pay attention to global warming.

He said that an asteroid collision might not be something to worry about since we do not know how to defend ourselves against such threat: Nevertheless, he thinks it does not seem something that will not be able to happen at any time. The last asteroid collision occurred 70 million years ago, and it killed the dinosaurs.

However for the acclaimed scientist, a more “immediate danger is runaway climate change” Hawking’s explained that hotter ocean temperature could melt the ice caps, resulting in the release of significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor.

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to evolve faster than the human race,” says Professor Hawking”

Artificial intelligence has been one of the main issues in technologies and fields like medicine, communications, and even army. However, Hawking believes that advances in artificial intelligence will initially not cause any threat to humans, but once these machines reach a stage in which they can evolve themselves, it was hard to predict if their goals will remain the same as humans. Since robots might develop faster that human race, Professor Hawking thinks this could be dangerous for the human race if safety measures do not take place.

This is not the first time the acclaimed physicist has expressed his concerns regarding artificial intelligence, during an event in London, Hawking warned about the threats of a robot uprising. If technology becomes more intelligent and faster to adapt human’s environment, human would be in danger

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” said Hawking during a lecture for the BBC

A killing intelligent machine will be difficult to stop in the future

When Hawking was asked about AI, he also pointed out that the development of new planes and weapons with intelligent technologies makes him think that  governments are interested in getting “an AI arms race.”

The famous Astrophysics said that governments need to restrain their aim to make killing machines because an arm AI would not be easy to stop. Hence, Hawking thinks it is important to ensure that robots would be designed ethically with safeguards in place.

He complains that governments have not pay attention to projects that help directly human race, for example, medical improvements such as screening. It seems a somewhat “lower priority “said Hawking.

What mystifies hawking the most about the universe?

For a brilliant mind like Stephen Hawking, during the last interview, Larry King did not hesitate when he asked the living legend about what would still mystify him about the universe. Hawking answered with questions: “Why do the universe and all the laws of nature exist? Are they necessary?”. He says that in one sense, they are needed because, otherwise, no one would be here to ask that question, however, he does not know if there is a deeper reason to that.

Larry commented that that was a different answer when Hawking was asked in 2012 by New Scientist what he thought about most during the day. Hawking said, at that time, that he used to think a lot about women because, for him, “they were a complete mystery.” In response to that comment, Hawking said he had learned a lot about women in the past few years. He even asked Larry King if having eight marriages was the triumph of hope over experience.”

In response to that comment, Hawking said he had learned a lot about women in the past few years. He even asked Larry King if having eight marriages was the “triumph of hope over experience.”

“You make a good point, Stephen” said Larry. “ I think the answer is yes,” he said when thinking about his 19-year marriage.

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