Posthumous essays reveal his fear of genetic ‘improvements’
Posthumous essays reveal that the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking believed in transhumanism. In Brief Answers to the Big Questions, he responds to queries posed to him by his readers over the long decades of his professional life and crippling illness. Will humanity survive? Remains to be seen. Should we colonize space? Yes. Does God exist? No. Do genetically modified humans threaten humanity? Yes.
“I am sure that during this century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence and instincts such as aggression,” he wrote.
“Laws will probably be passed against genetic engineering with humans. But some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life.”
“Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete,” he wrote. “Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.”
Despite his brilliance, he fretted about our ever-growing dependence upon technology.
“Our future is a race between the growing power of our technology and the wisdom with which we use it. Let’s make sure that wisdom wins,” he wrote.
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