Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Stephen Hawking and the Threat of AI

Stephen Hawking. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen

Like some other advocates of a purely naturalistic /materialistic worldview, for instance, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking has not actually been averse to making statements that go way beyond his expertise.

A few years ago, he warned us of the threat posed by big bad aliens. He also claimed that the universe could create itself through the use of natural laws.

In the meanwhile he has also dabbled in foreign politics by boycotting a scientific conference held in Israel, the very opposite of the Je Suis Juif (I am a Jew) idea popularised after the recent attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

More recently, he once again warned us of a threat lurking to make an end of us. This time it has to do with artificial intelligence. He is especially worried about AI (artificial intelligence) that could “take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate.”

Prof. Hawking thinks that this would be a disaster, since in his view, “humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded.”

What he fails to notice is that computers, robots and “smart” devices can only do what they have been programmed to do. They do not – and cannot – think. They are not conscious creatures that could usurp man’s place in the order of things.

The real threat does not come from AI but from confusion, crime and terrorism, which spring from man’s refusal to abide by the laws set by the Lawmaker, who created everything in the universe, including Stephen Hawking.

We can put our trust in God instead of speculating about improbable, incredible and impossible threats that go against natural laws.

After all, life only comes from life. The same applies to consciousness and intelligence.

In contrast, robots can never be alive.


Cellan-Jones, Rory. 2014. Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind. BBC news (2 December).