Many people believe that the election of Donald Trump will bring about a chain of events leading to the extinction of the human race. Noam Chomsky called it ‘almost a death knell for the human species.’ So here’s a feel-good story, because according to Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, Trump may not be as great a concern to our survival as a species as is artificial intelligence, and it looks like the human race has about roughly 1,000 years left.
So maybe if Trump’s ignorance about the climate, our environment, or nuclear bombs isn’t our end sooner, (throw in genetically created viruses too for good measure), we do have a larger-than-anticipated window of time to plan our voyage to outer space.
What a feeling of semi-relief, right?
Elon Reeve Musk is a Canadian-American business magnate, engineer, investor, and inventor. The Tesla CEO has plans to cover the Earth with over 4,000 satellites to ensure global high-speed internet coverage through the SpaceX company he leads. Apparently worldwide internet does not lead to evil advances in artificial intelligence in Musk’s mind. Hawking believes the internet will form how A.I. is developed and used.
Musk and famous physicist Stephen Hawking have pointed to artificial intelligence as likely going all Terminator and wiping out the human race. Hawking predicts it will take place in about 1,000 years. Once A.I. becomes significantly intelligent, what would keep it from overpowering humans when there is no regulation and high competition between corporations to continually advance and keep secrets from each other and the world? Fortunately, Elon Musk has plans to colonize Mars within 50 to 150 years at the cost of $200,000 per person. No word yet if he also plans to blanket Mars with high-speed internet as well, or if the A.I. we leave behind from Earth will figure out how to get on board his Raptor rockets to Mars.
‘With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon,’ Elon Musk said in an interview with Entrepreneur.
‘Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years, Hawking told the Christian Science Monitor. ‘By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.’
Hawking first began warning about the timeline of 1,000 years at least 3 years ago, but his recent speech at Oxford has brought this back into focus. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, so back to the feel-good part:
‘Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, wonder about what makes the universe exist,’ he said. ‘Be curious. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.’
This is especially important to hear during this troublesome time in America, and Hawking is the perfect human to give us this renewed hope in not giving up despite the many obstacles we face, intelligent or otherwise…
See more about Hawking and his predictions in the video below:
Featured image: composite from Wikimedia commons images of Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking