Advances in technology and innate human tendency for aggression could threaten survival chances of human race, but it might not come to that…
Stephen Hawking, the world renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist has said in an interview the UK Times newspaper that he thinks that rapid technological advances mixed with humanity’s naturally aggressive instincts and our tendency to wage war with one another, could ultimately threaten the human race.
To ensure the survival of humanity, Hawking believes we need we need to establish a way of identifying both environmental and technological threats quickly, before they have a chance to escalate.
“Since civilization began, aggression has been useful in as much as it has definite survival advantages,” said Hawking, who recently turned 75. “It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason.”
It’s not the first time Hawking has spoken out about the dangers of technology. In 2015 he wrote “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.”
Hawking said that one way to make sure we don’t destroy ourselves through stupidity and incompetence was perhaps the formation of a fully functional world government that would be able to combat threats such as artificial intelligence. Of course, he noted wryly, that would form its own unique set of problems, such as the danger a global governing body could easily become tyrannical.
“We need to be quicker to identify such threats and act before they get out of control. This might mean some form of world government. But that might become a tyranny. All this may sound a bit doom-laden but I am an optimist. I think the human race will rise to meet these challenges.”