Artificial intelligence could end mankind

Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind

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Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.

He told the BBC:”The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.

But others are less gloomy about AI’s prospects.

The theoretical physicist, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is using a new system developed by Intel to speak.

Machine learning experts from the British company Swiftkey were also involved in its creation. Their technology, already employed as a smartphone keyboard app, learns how the professor thinks and suggests the words he might want to use next.

Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.

Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001 and its murderous computer HAL encapsulate many people’s fears of how AI could pose a threat to human life

“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he said.

“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

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Human species ‘may split in two’

 

Humanity may split into an elite and an underclass, says Dr Curry

Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years’ time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.

Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge.

The human race would peak in the year 3000, he said – before a decline due to dependence on technology.

People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species, he added.

The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the “underclass” humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

Race ‘ironed out’

But in the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.

Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.

Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.

However, Dr Curry warns, in 10,000 years time humans may have paid a genetic price for relying on technology.

Spoiled by gadgets designed to meet their every need, they could come to resemble domesticated animals.

Receding chins

Social skills, such as communicating and interacting with others, could be lost, along with emotions such as love, sympathy, trust and respect. People would become less able to care for others, or perform in teams.

Physically, they would start to appear more juvenile. Chins would recede, as a result of having to chew less on processed food.

There could also be health problems caused by reliance on medicine, resulting in weak immune systems. Preventing deaths would also help to preserve the genetic defects that cause cancer.

Further into the future, sexual selection – being choosy about one’s partner – was likely to create more and more genetic inequality, said Dr Curry.

The logical outcome would be two sub-species, “gracile” and “robust” humans similar to the Eloi and Morlocks foretold by HG Wells in his 1895 novel The Time Machine.

“While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is a possibility of a monumental genetic hangover over the subsequent millennia due to an over-reliance on technology reducing our natural capacity to resist disease, or our evolved ability to get along with each other, said Dr Curry.

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Afterlife

Stephen Hawking: brain could exist outside body

At premiere of film about his life, physicist says it’s theoretically possible to copy brain on to computer to provide life after death

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking with his sister Mary at the premiere of the documentary Hawking in Cambridge. Photograph: Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images

Stephen Hawking has said he believes brains could exist independently of the body, but that the idea of a conventional afterlife is a fairy tale.

Speaking at the premiere of a documentary film about his life, the theoretical physicist said: “I think the brain is like a programme in the mind, which is like a computer, so it’s theoretically possible to copy the brain on to a computer and so provide a form of life after death.

“However, this is way beyond out present capabilities. I think the conventional afterlife is a fairy tale for people afraid of the dark.”

The 71-year-old author of A Brief History of Time, who earlier this week backed the right for the terminally ill to end their lives as long as safeguards were in place, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21 and given two to three years to live.

“All my life I have lived with the threat of an early death, so I hate wasting time,” Hawking said on Thursday night, using the computer-generated voice he controls with a facial muscle and a blink from one eye.

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Comment:

brain-in-jarWhat a horrible thought.

Bottled brains hooked up to a computer.

This raises so many issues, that it’s frightening to even consider them.

For me this is taking things too far.

 

 

This is Disgusting

…and the implications are horrific, totally beyond the imagination.

Are we on the verge of creating Dr Frankenstein’s monster?

Miniature ‘human brain’ grown in lab

The “mini brain” is roughly the size and developmental level of a nine-week foetus

Miniature “human brains” have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders.

The pea-sized structures reached the same level of development as in a nine-week-old foetus, but are incapable of thought.

The study, published in the journal Nature, has already been used to gain insight into rare diseases.

Neuroscientists have described the findings as astounding and fascinating.

The human brain is one of the most complicated structures in the universe.

Scientists at Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now reproduced some of the earliest stages of the organ’s development in the laboratory.

Brain bath

They used either embryonic stem cells or adult skin cells to produce the part of an embryo that develops into the brain and spinal cord – the neuroectoderm.

This was placed in tiny droplets of gel to give a scaffold for the tissue to grow and was placed into a spinning bioreactor, a nutrient bath that supplies nutrients and oxygen.

A cerebral organoid – the brown pigments are a developing retina

The cells were able to grow and organise themselves into separate regions of the brain, such as the cerebral cortex, the retina, and, rarely, an early hippocampus, which would be heavily involved in memory in a fully developed adult brain.

The researchers are confident that this closely, but far from perfectly, matches brain development in a foetus until the nine week stage.

The tissues reached their maximum size, about 4mm (0.1in), after two months.

The “mini-brains” have survived for nearly a year, but did not grow any larger. There is no blood supply, just brain tissue, so nutrients and oxygen cannot penetrate into the middle of the brain-like structure.

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