Your future depends on science, Stephen Hawking warns from beyond the grave

Olive Hawkins
October 18, 2018

His dire prediction continued that those being outpaced in the human development race will either die out or become unimportant, leaving "a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate".

Hawking wrote that the power to change DNA could create a king of superhuman that may dominate or even wipe out the genetic have-nots of a future civilisation.

Professor Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with r amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, aged 21, and given only a few years to live.

"Travel back in time can't be ruled out according to our present understanding", he says, adding: "Within the next hundred years we will be able to travel to anywhere in the Solar System". As such technology advances, why should humans refrain from using the tool to enhance the genetic code rather than merely to correct deformations?

In its latest forecast Stephen Hawking writes that in the future rich people will be able to modify their own DNA genome and their children to improve memory, mental abilities, ward off disease and increase life expectancy.

Her brother Timothy, who also attended the launch, said that while reading the new book he could hear his father's voice "leaping off the page".

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Dr Hawking was known for bringing clarity to some of the most mind-bending ideas in science such as the nature of black holes and the possibility of a multiverse. So, the picture that he paints in the book of the future world includes a lot of chaos.

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet", the familiar voice-generation computer generated said. There is no way that people are going to take this any less seriously than they are supposed to.

Some people won't be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics'. As we stand on the brink of a Second Nuclear Age and a period of unprecedented climate change, scientists have a special responsibility, once again, to inform the public and to advise leaders about the perils that humanity faces.

It's been six months since the death of the great Stephen Hawking.

The astronomer Lord Rees, who was a friend of Hawking at Cambridge University but often disagreed with his peer, noted that a sperm bank in California offering only "elite" sperm, including from Nobel prize-winners, closed due to lack of demand. Now, as we face vast challenges on our planet-including climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the development of artificial intelligence-he turns his attention to the most urgent issues facing us.

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