A warning on robots from world-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is going viral following his death Wednesday.
In Hawking’s last Reddit post before his death, which took place as a Q&A on the forum, Hawking said he feared Earth would have a “catastrophic ending” in the near future and that it he thought it could be due to smart robots that might take over the planet.
Hawking said there is the potential that machines could one day do all the work in society, and that fair distribution of the profits from that work would be the key.
“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed,” Hawking wrote on Reddit. “Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.”
Hawking thought the latter scenario would end up being more realistic. “So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality,” he said.
The solution Hawking advocated to solve the rise of the machines is being featured in a documentary on The Smithsonian Channel in which he will appear when it airs March 25.
In the show, “Leaving Earth: Or How to Colonize a Planet,” Hawking says he thinks humanity needs to make plans now to be ready before a disaster threatens Earth, Space.com reported.
“We must do it now before humanity is overtaken by some disaster that we can neither anticipate nor control,” Hawking warns.
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