Stephen Hawking and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI), in recent years, has become a growing topic with the rise of AlphaGo program, self-driving cars, etc.; thus, among AI enthusiasts, there is a significant debate whether the integration of AI into our society would be a good idea. Let’s take a look at both sides of the table.

One of the prominent AI cynics, the famous physicist Stephen Hawking has once voiced his opinions towards AI in one of his talks. He deeply concerned that in the future, with the current progression of AI in many areas, it would become a superhuman with intelligence that outpaces us (Higgins, 2018).

He believed that AI would improve upon their own designs without our support and become more diligently faster by replicating our own intelligence processes (Rutschman, 2018). As a consequence, his future vision described an outcome where our future society would be doomed under the AI threat.

Sebastian Thrun – co founder of Udacity and computer scientist, on the other hand, is an AI optimist.

During his Ted Talk with Chris Anderson, Sebastian Thrun agreed upon the same idea that Stephen Hawking shared: AI robots or programs could overwrite their own code and expand their own copies but with a very remote possibility (“What AI is and isn’t”, 2017).

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He stated that the current AI to date is very specialized: AlphaGo is only an AI program that knows how to play Go; besides that, it does not know how to fly a plane or drive a car (“What AI is and isn’t”, 2017). He firmly believes that AI does more good than harm. It could help human become superhuman. It would replace any repetitive tasks or work so that we could reduce learning time and become an expert in chosen field (Robinson, 2018). Future vision of Sebastian Thrun is different from Stephen Hawking as he believes AI will and continue to become a tool to help human become more efficient and creative.

Even though Stephen Hawking and Sebastian Thrun shared their opinions and views on the same subject that AI machines could better themselves without our support, their outlook on the future are different. In my opinion, it is more likely that AI machines will not outpace our intelligence and become dominant over human race. If we continue to learn and understand AI systems, we will act upon the knowledge we are familiar with so that we will not make the same mistakes from the past and continue to build more efficient AI programs or machines in order to better human’s life conditions.

Moreover, there are also other views on AI; for instance, AI would neither good or bad. One example of an AI realist is Steve Wozniak, co founder of Apple. His view on AI is that AI would help us improve on our daily life and such but it also would never be a threat. According to The Economics Time (2018), Wozniak stated that the AI machines are not close to be intelligent. He said that those machines do not work like human brain. They only do specific tasks if we ask them to. One of the examples he has given out to prove that the human brains are more powerful is that for a machine to recognize whether the object is a dog, it has to be fed thousands of pictures of dogs in order to learn. However, if you show a dog to a 2-year-old, she/he would learn and know immediately (Moore, 2018).

Artificial Intelligence has become a popular topic for discussion. However, if we continue to point out the positive and negative aspects of AI, we eventually acknowledge and avoid making bad decisions that could lead to negative affect on human society.

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Stephen Hawking and Artificial Intelligence. (2022, May 09). Retrieved from

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