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Hawking: Pollution and “Stupidity” Are the Biggest Threats to Humanity

People “have certainly not become less greedy or less stupid.”

| 2 min read

People “have certainly not become less greedy or less stupid.”

In an interview on Larry King Now, the world’s leading theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, claims humans “have certainly not become less greedy or less stupid” in our treatment of the environment over the past decade.

He believes pollution and human “stupidity” are still the biggest threats to mankind. “Six years ago, I was warning about pollution and overcrowding, they have gotten worse since then. The population has grown by half a billion since our last interview, with no end in sight,” Hawking said during the interview.

“At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100. Air pollution has increased by 8 percent over the past five years. More than 80 percent of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.”

SEE ALSO: Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner's Ambitious New Plan Will Take Us to Our Nearest Star

But dumb humans and environmental pollution are not the only things Hawking is worried about. During the Starmus Science Conference in Tenerife, Spain, he expressed concern over the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for military purposes and warfare, according to The Independent.

“Governments seem to be engaged in an AI arms race, designing planes and weapons with intelligent technologies. The funding for projects directly beneficial to the human race, such as improved medical screening, seems a somewhat lower priority,” explained Hawking.

What’s more, once machines reach the stage of being able to evolve themselves, it will be impossible to “predict whether their goals will be the same as ours.”

Judgement Day anyone?

But not everything Hawking had to say was bad news. During the conference, he revealed an exciting new plan: to map the entire known universe using radiation patterns. The hope is that it will reveal some clues about dark energy  — the mysterious repulsive force that pushes everything in the universe apart —  which is believed to be causing the universe to expand faster than previously thought.

Read next: Physicists Created a Lab-Sized “Black Hole” to Prove Stephen Hawking’s Theory

Editor's note (June 28): This article was originally credited to the wrong author. We appologise for any confusion this may have caused.

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