Stephen Hawking Warns Us About Artificial Intelligence


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

2853 Stephen Hawking Warns Us About Artificial Intelligence
Danor Aharon/Shutterstock

He might be busy searching for alien life and working out how to escape from a black hole, but Professor Stephen Hawking has taken time out of his crammed schedule to respond to questions from members of the public.

It takes Hawking an incredibly long time to respond to questions, being able to type only a few words a minute using his cheek to select words on a screen, so it’s pretty commendable that he took the time to respond to questions on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) subreddit, in conjunction with Wired and Nokia.


Most of Hawking’s answers related to artificial intelligence (AI), a subject he has discussed frequently in recent years, and the threat it might pose to humanity. "A superintelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble," he said in one answer. "You’re probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you’re in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there’s an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants. Let’s not place humanity in the position of those ants."

He also responded to some more light-hearted questions; when asked what one mystery he found the most intriguing, he responded: "Women. My PA reminds me that although I have a PhD in physics women should remain a mystery."

We’ve picked out a few of his responses below, but you can read the rest over on Reddit.





  • tag
  • Stephen Hawking,

  • artificial intelligence,

  • humanity,

  • AI,

  • Reddit,

  • AMA