Stephen Hawking’s Death Leaves Scientists With Plenty to Work On

Stephen Hawking warned against artificial intelligence taking over humanity. He also said we must leave Earth soon.

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Stephen Hawking was an icon in the world of science and technology. He was considered one of the greatest minds in modern theoretical physics. He managed to marry Newton’s concepts of gravity to Einstein’s theory of relativity. And in doing so, he has opened up a whole new field of research in the ‘theory of everything’.

Quantum theory generally describes invisibly small things such as atoms and their constituents. General relativity, on the other hand, describes matter on large scale such as the universe, galaxies and stars.

Professor Hawking was a leader in exploring gravity and the properties of black holes. His theory called ‘Hawking Radiation’ suggests that subatomic light particles are sometimes ejected out of a black hole, taking energy with them, and eventually resulting in a black hole evaporating completely. 

He put this theory out in 1974, but it was not until 2014 that an Israeli professor proved that Hawking could be right in an experiment.

Hawking also warned against the increased use of artificial intelligence in an interview to Wired.

I fear AI may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans. 
Stephen Hawking to Wired

Stephen Hawking was also completely against US President Donald Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change. He warned of the consequences in the near future.

We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees and raining sulphuric acid. 
Stephen Hawking to the BBC

Elon Musk would be happy to note that Hawking endorsed mankind’s search for alternate planets to live on.

We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity, I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet. 
Stephen Hawking to the BBC

Hawking was also working on a project to look for signs of intelligent life in distant galaxies, called the Breakthrough Listen project. However, he warned about replying to any signal that may be received from a distant planet.

(This story was first published on 14 March 2018 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark Stephen Hawking’s funeral.)

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