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Stephen Hawking Says Aliens Or Robots Could Easily End Humanity

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Well that's a sobering headline.

Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, pop culture hero and British Institution Stephen Hawking was speaking to Spain's El Pais when he reiterated an ominous thought on the possible outcome of encountering intelligent life.

"If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans," said the professor. "Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach. To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

Suddenly Independence Day doesn't just look a fun way to kill a slow Sunday - it's a potential forewarning of a future interstellar war. Just without Will Smith.

[ED - Technically Will Smith could still be actively involved in the fight to save the planet - whether he'd team up with Jeff Goldblum and have any real impact is debatable though]

That wasn't Hawking's only prophecy of doom, as El Pais also touched on another topic of contemporary worry - computer AI.

"Computers will overtake humans with AI at some point within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours."

Brilliant. Anything else you want to add Dr Hawking, or is that all the gloom you've got for us mortals today?

"I think the survival of the human race will depend on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe, because there’s an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth. I therefore want to raise public awareness about the importance of space flight. I have learnt not to look too far ahead, but to concentrate on the present. I have so much more I want to do."

That's it. We're ditching our desk jobs and heading back to university to learn some physics and start building a rocket to get us off this rock before we die at the hands of computers, aliens or each other.

[Via: El Pais]

(Images: Rex)

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