Stephen William Hawking is an English theoretical cosmologist, physicist and author. He holds the position of a Director of Research in the University of Cambridge at the Center for Theoretical Cosmology. He has come up with 10 hard-to-believe predictions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will make your jaws drop. Here they come.
1. AI Paves The Way for Sophisticated Armory
As latest as 2016, Stephen Hawking signed an open letter talking about autonomous weapons that will be built employing the principles of AI and Robotics. This letter which collects the expertise of researchers in the field of Robotics and AI quotes that our generation is inching to witness “a global arms race”. Stephen candidly mentions in his open letter that autonomous weapons built using AI will become the new-age weapons to wage global wars.
Warfare will hence take place through technological upgrades in the form of AI weaponry. This development will fuel the emergence of the third revolution in global wars, surpassing the earlier ones which used gunpowder and nuclear arms as ammunition.
2. Economic Disruptions Become the Order of the Day
According to Stephen Hawking, AI will throw our global economy out of gear. Not taking too long, the present generation will witness AI demonstrating a will of its own. Many a times, this will of the AI can disrupt the human race when it begins to oppose the will of human beings.
3. AI Can Either Be For The Best or the Worst
Stephen Hawking opines that the rise of powerful AI can be in the best or the worst interest of humanity. He strongly feels that AI on one side could transform every aspect of human life but on the other, poses new challenges that can damage mankind as a whole.
4. AI Can Destroy Our Society
According to Stephen Hawking, since AI is seen limiting human intervention in all spheres of life, it could destroy our society by superseding the intelligence and logical reasoning of humans.
5. AI Could be the Worst Event in the History of Human Civilization
Stephen Hawking regards the invention of AI as the worst thing that can ever happen to humanity. He categorically quotes that the growing popularity of AI could be the “worst event in the history of our civilization”. This quotation has its roots linked to the replacement of human experts with machines which come with a power of logical thinking and expression.
Building conscious machines using AI is no doubt a good move. But Stephen reiterates that humans should strive towards controlling such machines so that they do not overpower humans. By learning how to be prepared for the risks of AI, we can avoid the damage caused by AI.
6. We Are Unsure Whether AI Benefits or Destroys Us
Stephen Hawking expresses his deep-rooted ambiguity concerning AI through this prediction. Quote unquote – “So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and side-lined, or conceivably destroyed by it” are the words spoken by him, warning humanity of the possible ill-effects of AI.
7. Preparedness and Anticipation of Potent Dangers Coming From AI
While Stephen Hawking believes that AI can do the world a great deal of good, he, on the flipside expresses his concern about the same technological revolution in clear terms. “That it can work in harmony with us. We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management, and prepare for its consequences well in advance.” These words expressed by the world-famous physicist should leave us thinking.
Suggesting tips, Stephen through this prediction harps on the importance of being mindful of the consequences of AI. Humanity should be prepared for the after-effects of AI so that we don’t run out of time to initiate damage-control mechanisms.
8. AI to Take on the Mantle of a Dominant Being
Expressing concern over the growing popularity of AI, Stephen Hawking recently quoted that AI will soon replace humans. AI will then take on the mantle of a dominating being on this planet. His fear that AI might replace humans altogether manifests in his prediction that states – “If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself”. He further explains this prediction as “This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans”.
9. By 2030, 38% of US Jobs will be Replaced by Robots
Stephen Hawking expressed his concern over the popularity of robots during a Web Summit in 2017. He cautioned the human race to be well-prepared to tackle the after-effects of AI coming in the shape of robots. When robots begin to gain ground, they will sound the death knell of humans by simply replacing human efforts. Robots will soon threaten humans by snatching away their jobs. In this context, Stephen has a prediction for the next decade. By the time we step into the 2030s, Stephen Hawking foresees that 38% of US employees will be mechanized robots.
10. 2600 Is The Period By Which Human Life on Earth Will Meet Its Logical End
With AI dominating every aspect of human civilization, the mushrooming of autonomous weaponry is imminent. When this occurs, Stephen strongly supports his thought that the days of mankind on the planet Earth are numbered. The human race will find it very unsafe to take shelter on Earth. In line with this concern expressed by Stephen Hawking, he predicts that mankind will be safe in outer space when a major disaster occurs on Earth; due to AI. He predicts that by 2600, mankind will see its logical end on the face of this Earth and humans should be ready to take refuge in an alternate life-supporting planet.
In view of all the 10 unbelievable predictions quoted by Stephen Hawking, we as humans should go by the concept of continual progress. But the key is to recognize and anticipate potent dangers. Once these technological threats are identified and controlled, AI can pave the way for a progressive society.