Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died Tuesday at the age of 76, and before he departed this world, he left us with warnings that Earth is headed for a “catastrophic ending” in the near future.
This doom will not come from a fiery asteroid or even global warming, but from rising inequality fueled by increasingly smart robots, Hawking said.
“Intelligent future artificial intelligence will probably develop a drive to survive and acquire more resources as a step toward accomplishing whatever goal it has, because surviving and having more resources will increase its chances of accomplishing that other goal,” Hawking said in a 2015 Reddit Ask Me Anything forum.
“This can cause problems for humans whose resources get taken away,” Hawking said. He suggests that we should all leave the planet and find new lives in outer space.
Hawking’s alarming prediction came as robots and artificial intelligence increasingly take over human jobs. It is predicted that people will be out of jobs by 2030 because of automation, according to an eight-month study from the McKinsey Global Institute.
Though Hawking often warned about the upcoming robot takeover, he noted technology could also produce new solutions.
“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed,” he wrote. “Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.”
Some argue automation will not evolve to meet all of the needs of humans, or that the model of luxury communism isn’t environmentally sustainable. Hawking himself said the future didn’t seem bright for such a model.
“So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality,” he said.
Blogged by Deja Miller