British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has warned that development of artificial intelligence could mean the end of humanity.
In an interview with the BBC, the scientist said such technology could rapidly evolve and overtake mankind, a scenario like that envisaged in the “Terminator” movies.
Hawking, who is wheelchair-bound as a result of motor neurone disease and speaks with the aid of a voice synthesiser, is however keen to take advantage of modern communications technology and said he was one of the first people to be connected in the early days of the Internet.
He said the Internet had brought dangers as well as benefits, citing a warning from the new head of Britain’s electronic spying agency GCHQ that it had become a command centre for criminals and terrorists.
Hawking Tuesday demonstrated a new software system developed by Intel, which incorporates predictive text to allow him to write faster. It will be made available online in January and could help those with motor neurone disease.
While welcoming the improvements, the scientist said he had decided not to change his robotic-sounding voice, which originally came from a speech synthesiser designed for a telephone directory service.