Stephen Hawking’s Last Warning for Humans Is Dire

Newser – by John Johnson

A new Stephen Hawking book is out Tuesday, and the late physicist issues a warning in it that sounds straight out of a dystopian sci-fi movie. Hawking worries that genetic editing will allow the rich to turn themselves into “superhumans” who will eventually dominate the world and perhaps the universe, reports the Guardian. “Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete,” warns Hawking in Brief Answers to the Big Questions, as excerpted in London’s Sunday Times.  

“Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.” Hawking says the first stages of this development will be beneficial, with fixes to diseases such as muscular dystrophy through technology such as CRISPR.

Laws will be passed to keep genetic engineering under control, but “people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life,” he predicts, adding that such breakthroughs will likely happen this century—and be available only to the wealthy. Looking further out, “if the human race manages to redesign itself, it will probably spread out and colonise other planets and stars,” he writes.

The latter could become necessary in the event of catastrophe, the mostly likely being an asteroid strike that wipes out much of life on Earth, writes Hawking, per Quartz. Our No. 2 threat? Climate change. One “big question” that Hawking answers is whether God exists. He thinks not. “If you like, you can call the laws of science ‘God,’ but it wouldn’t be a personal God that you would meet and put questions to.”

5 thoughts on “Stephen Hawking’s Last Warning for Humans Is Dire

  1. Well, heck, according to Rob Skiba and others, Nimrod did the same thing, or tried to anyway, about 3,000 years ago. Supposedly, he took the arcane knowledge his grandfather Ham took aboard the Noah’s Ark and passed it down to Cush, Nimrod’s father, which is how Nimrod became a “mighty man of old, man of renown” or gibborhim, Hebrew for mighty man. Didn’t work for Nimrod since he did die, and it won’t work for the elites either.

    Guess Hawkins watched the Star Trek Two: Wrath of Khan movie once too often, or Elysium, when he should have watched “World Without End” to find out what’s in store for the elites.

  2. “Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.”

    Isn’t that the goal?

  3. I think enhanced humans will also have an enhanced alpha-male/female drive, bringing with it an enhanced sense of entitlement, and far from becoming peaceful they’ll become even deadlier and war-hungry. They’ll kill off a lot of life in the process of killing themselves but the earth will heal after we’re gone, and I suspect Mother Nature will “recognize her own” and introduce ways of killing off GM orgasms with new diseases, blights etc.

  4. Interesting theory, I don’t see it as a bad thing to become superhuman, although obviously only the rich and elite will reap the benefits. I will have to leave plenty of gold for my son when I die.

  5. The brilliant mind of Hawking denies the existence of a creator so why would I listen to a single word out of the fools mouth.

    Science is NOT God.

    “The fool hath said there is no God.”

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