Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to the very existence of mindless computer games such as Angry Birds. He explained, ‘The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of stupid people being able to waste their time on stupid wastes of time.’
His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI. The theoretical physicist, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is using a new system developed by Intel to speak. However, the system absolutely refuses to download the latest set of Angry Birds levels on the grounds that it’s a meaningless game designed for brainless imbeciles.
Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that won’t allow people to behave like morons. ‘It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,’ he said. ‘Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would ultimately be unable to catapult cartoon birds at hiding pigs ever again.’