Stephen Hawking: People must control aggression or face humanity's demise

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Stephen Hawking: People must control aggression or face humanity's demise

While physicist Stephen Hawking is optimistic about the future, he warned in an interview published Tuesday that, with the pace of technological advancement, humans must gain control over their aggressive instincts in order to survive.

The famed English scientist told The Times that the issue lies in the instincts humanity has honed to survive so far.

"Since civilization began, aggression has been useful inasmuch as it has definite survival advantages," he told the British newspaper. "It is hard-wired into our genes by Darwinian evolution. Now, however, technology has advanced at such a pace that this aggression may destroy us all by nuclear or biological war. We need to control this inherited instinct by our logic and reason."

He suggested that the creation of a world government might be necessary to ensure that humanity is addressing high-impact challenges, such as climate change and the rise of artificial intelligence.

"We need to be quicker to identify such threats and act before they get out of control. This might mean some form of world government," Hawking said. "But that might become a tyranny."

It's not the first time that Hawking has said that humanity needs to be aware and cautious to ensure the survival of our species. Last year, he predicted that humanity would see a catastrophic disaster within the next 1,000 years that could ultimately lead to our demise if we fail to establish colonies on other planets.

He warned in a 2015 Ask Me Anything segment on Reddit that artificial intelligence could one day surpass human intelligence "by more than ours exceeds that of snails."

"All this may sound a bit doom-laden but I am an optimist," Hawking told The Times. "I think the human race will rise to meet these challenges."

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