Hawking Says Future Humans May Be Cyborgs
Stephen Hawking, considered by many to be among the brightest minds alive today, has long been issuing
some dire threats about future of life on this planet.
After first expressing concern about a looming destruction of the planet by man-induced
global warming, Hawking more recently shifted to new probabilities as part of his doomsday scenario. In an interview with
Roger Highfield of the London Telegraph, Hawking warned of the danger that in our quest to find ultimate biological and chemical
weapons we will create a doomsday bug that will destroy the human race. He also suggested the possibility that machines may
someday attempt to control us.
With deadly bugs like E-bola and military smallpox around, many scientists believe
that a doomsday device is already here. All it is going to take is one madman, like the guys who flew those commercial airliners
into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, to release it.
Hawking told Highfield he believes the
colonization of other planets might be the only hope for mankind.
"In the long term, I am more worried
about biology," Hawking said. "Nuclear weapons need large facilities, but genetic engineering can be done in a small lab.
You can't regulate every lab in the world. The danger is that either by accident or design, we create a virus that destroys
"I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are
too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars," Hawking
It is interesting to note that Hawking, a professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, says genetic engineering
for new bodies will probably be needed to make humans capable of surviving the rigors of space travel. He suggests that we
develop cyborgs, or humans with computers linked to their brains.
Why would we have computers wired into the brain? In another interview with the German
magazine Focus, Hawking said that because of the speed of advances in computer technology, he foresees a time when intelligent
machines will be smarter than humans and will have the capability of taking over the world.
Sounds like an old plot from
a B-rated science fiction movie doesn't it?
But Hawking is dead serious about this.
Because technology is advancing so fast,
Hawking said "computers double their performance every month." He warned that humans, in contrast, are developing much more
slowly. They are either going to change their DNA and develop the capability of using the full potential of their brain, or
be left behind.
"The danger is very real," the professor said.
Hawking said he believes that through
careful manipulation of human genes, humans can raise the complexity of their personal DNA and awaken the sleeping parts of
Hawking, a victim of ALS, a motor neuron disease that leaves him dependent on machines, finds it
easy to consider the concept of cyborg technology, with direct links between human brains and computers.
"We must develop
as quickly as possible technologies that make possible a direct connection between brain and computer, so that artificial
brains contribute to human intelligence rather than opposing it."
The scientific community is already looking into the possibilities of genetic engineering
and human interaction with machines. But there is strong opposition from the religious sector. Ethicists are urging caution
and saying that humans have no business playing God through genetic engineering.