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Stephen Hawking Warns Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankind

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A scene from the film "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and its murderous computer HAL, encapsulate some people's fears of how AI could pose a threat to human life.

Credit: Alamy

Responding to questions about an update to the system he uses to communicate, British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking says he worries about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.

Hawking was being interviewed by the BBC about the new system he is using to help him communicate, which incorporates artificial intelligence in the form of machine-learning techniques.

Hawking says although artificial intelligence is yielding many useful and positive advancements, such as his text-to-speech system, he fears more advanced technology, which could match or surpass human intelligence, might threaten the human species. "It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate," Hawking says. "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded."

He is the latest scientific luminary to raise concerns about artificial intelligence. Earlier this year Elon Musk caused a stir when he called artificial intelligence "our biggest existential threat."

In the interview, Hawking also discussed the potential dangers of the Internet, in particular the need for Internet companies to balance the privacy and freedom of users with the need for greater security.

From BBC News
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