There is no God -- that's the conclusion of the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking, whose final book is published Tuesday.
Other bombshells the British scientist left his readers with include the belief that alien life is out there, artificial intelligence could outsmart humans and time travel can't be ruled out.
"There are forms of intelligent life out there," he writes. "We need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further."
Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist who died in March, warns of both rises in advanced artificial intelligence and genetically-enhanced "superhumans" in a book publishing Tuesday.
Hawking argues that we are setting ourselves up for catastrophic failure. The rapid increase of the global population with the consequent need for ever more energy and food, our unstoppable encroachment into natural habitats, the huge amounts of air pollution due to the burning of fossil fuels, growing income disparity, cultural entrenchment — all of these combine into an explosive formula for disaster. Add to that the potential threat from nuclear weapons and the rapid rise of robotic and machine intelligence, and the future couldn't look any gloomier.
Only science, Hawking argues, can save us from our mistakes.
"With Brexit and Trump now exerting new forces in relation to immigration and the development of education, we are witnessing a global revolt against experts, and that includes scientists," Hawking said.
I've always said you should be limited to 3 kids.
In my 60+ years the change especially in ocean and river quality is unbelievable. Too many fuckling people. No pun intended.
More on AI and genetic engineering
"While primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have proved very useful, I fear the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans," Hawking wrote. "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded."
Hawking wrote about a need for serious research to explore what impact AI would have on humanity, from the workplace to the military, where he expressed concerns about sophisticated weapons systems "that can choose and eliminate their own targets."
Hawking said initially gene-editing technology will be used to correct genes leading to diseases like cystic fibrosis, but people won't resist using the technology to make them stronger or smarter.
"Once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete," wrote Hawking. "Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving themselves at an ever-increasing rate."
You have to wonder if we are further down these roads than we know.
I do fear for my sons children. I’ll probably be long gone, but something catastrophic is bound to happen. If it isn’t man made, it’ll be the planet disposing us.