During an interview on Larry King Now in June 25, the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking points out that the biggest threats to mankind are stupidity and greed. Hawking laments that people have not changed since the last time he did an interview with Larry King six years ago.
“We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid,” says Hawking, CNET reports. “Six years ago, I was warning about pollution and overcrowding. They have gotten worse since then.”
The biggest problem the world faces is climate change. If no action will be made soon in an attempt to solve this issue, it may be too late to save the planet.
Global population has also exploded by half a billion since Hawking last met King. If this keeps up, the scientist estimates the worldwide population to reach 11 billion by 2100.
As the population expanded, air pollution has also increased. Hawking says that the world’s air pollution has worsened in the last five years. Over 80 percent of people who live in urban areas are exposed to harmful levels of air pollution.
Hawking adds that artificial intelligence also poses a problem for mankind. Instead of using this technology to improve other aspects of life, particularly for health, the government is more keen on using it to build weapons.
“Governments seem to be engaged in an AI arms race,” Hawking says. “Designing planes and weapons with intelligent technologies. The funding for projects directly beneficial to the human race, such as improved medical screening seems a somewhat lower priority.”
The scientist notes that we may not be able control machines if they evolve on their own.
“I don’t think that advances in artificial intelligence will necessarily be benign,” Hawking told King. “Once machines reach the critical stage of being able to evolve themselves, we cannot predict whether their goals will be the same as ours.”
“Why do the universe and all the laws of nature exist? Are they necessary?” Stephen Hawking wonders. “In one sense, they are, because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question. But is there a deeper reason?”