British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has stirred a rigorous debate in the scientific corridors of the world with his cautionary warning against the development of artificial intelligence (AI).
According to the veteran scientist, the advancement of artificial intelligence may pose threat to the human race resulting in the end of human race.
The technology can supersede humanity because it has developed at a faster pace than biological evolution, believes the eminent scientist.
“The primitive forms of artificial intelligence we already have proved very useful. But I believe the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Hawking told a news agency adding, “Once humans develop artificial intelligence it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.”
The statement by Hawking came in response to a question about his new voice system. The scientist is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), a form of the progressive neurological disease, which creates trouble in speaking. Hawking uses a voice synthesizer for the communication purposes. But he has started using a new artificial intelligence-based system recently. The system is developed by a British company, Swiftkey.
This is not the first time when Hawking has warned against the potential dangers of AI. But his remarks have sparked rigorous debate among the scientists and thinkers.
While some agreed with Hawking, others considered his warning overblown.
Daniela Cerqui, an anthropologist at Switzerland’s Lausanne University, said, “I’m pleased that a scientist from the ‘hard sciences’ has spoken out. I’ve been saying the same thing for years.”
“It’s a little apocalyptic. Machines already do things better than us. That doesn’t mean they are more intelligent than us,” said Mathieu Lafourcade, an AI language specialist at the University of Montpellier, southern France.