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Human race will be threatened by killer robots: Hawking

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Human race will be threatened by killer robots: Hawking


Nine MSN
28 July 2015

Physicist Stephen Hawking has taken to online forum Reddit to warn about the danger of future 'killer robots' threatening humanity's existence.

Hawking is hosting an extended Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, inviting users to quiz him on "making the future of technology more human" until August 4.

With Hawking only able to communicate slowly through a computer due to Motor Neurone Disease, the 73-year-old will answer the questions that receive the most votes from Reddit users over the next few weeks.

More than 6000 questions have been put to Hawking within the first 13 hours of the session going live, ranging from whether humans will eventually be able to travel at the speed of light to Hawking's favourite books.

The session comes as Hawking yesterday joined entrepreneur Elon Musk in presenting an open letter about the "virtual inevitability" of a Terminator-esque future world war unless a global ban on super-intelligent autonomous weapons is imposed.

"The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global Artificial Intelligence arms race or to prevent it from starting," the letter reads.

"Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilising nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group. We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity.

"It will only be a matter of time until they appear on the black market and in the hands of terrorists and dictators."

The open letter was presented to the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aries, Argentina yesterday, and signed by 1000 academics and scientists, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and linguist Noam Chomsky.

Hawking last year predicted computers will overtake humans in terms of intelligence within the next 100 years.

"When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours," he said.

"Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, won't be able to compete and (could be) superseded."

© ninemsn 2015

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