Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is warning of the potential for mass destruction due to human aggression and the advancement of technology, but he claims to be an optimistic nonetheless.
During a recent interview with The Times, he said, "Since civilisation began, aggression has been useful inasmuch as it has definite survival advantages. It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason."
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In terms of environmental issues and the potential dangers of artificial intelligence, Hawking advised, "We need to be quicker to identify such threats and act before they get out of control. This might mean some form of world government. But that might become a tyranny. All this may sound a bit doom-laden but I am an optimist. I think the human race will rise to meet these challenges."
While reflecting about his own life, he expressed doubt about winning the Nobel Prize for his research about black holes due to a lack of observations confirming the finding, but he also recounted the successes he has enjoyed in his career, family, and travels thus far.
Hawking eventually said, "It is a great time to be alive."
He recently turned 75 and was honored with the prestigious Freedom of the City of London award for his scientific work.