Hawking: Re-engineer humans or risk machine rule

If humans don't watch out, computers will take over the Earth, says Stephen Hawking.

Since computers double their capacity every 18 months, there's a real danger they will develop intelligence, the Cambridge University physicist told the German news magazine "Focus," which published the interview in its Monday edition.

Hawking's comments, reminiscent of the scenario in Stanley Kubrick's science fiction film "2001: A Space Odyssey," were published along with an introduction to his forthcoming book, "The Universe in a Nutshell."

Hawkings said scientists could deliberately change genetic material, increasing the complexity of DNA and thus improving humans.

It will be a slow process, because it takes around 18 years, or a generation, to determine the effects of genetic manipulation, he said.

It is vital to develop ways of keeping biological systems superior to electronic ones, Hawking continued. Humans must develop an interface that allows the human brain to be directly connected to a computer, so that the artificial brain contributes to human intelligence, rather than opposing it.

Hawking, who has the neurological disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (known in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig's disease) -- uses a motorized wheelchair and communicates with the aid of a portable computer and speech synthesizer.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Perera

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?