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Stephen Hawking says artificial intelligence could end the human race

British physicist Stephen Hawking warns that intelligent machines could pose a major threat to humanity.

Hawking’s warning about artificial intelligence was in response to a question about his new voice system. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” Hawking told the BBC.

Hawking has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a motor neurone disease, and is using a new system developed by Intel to speak that involves a basic form of artificial intelligence.

The new system, developed in part by Swiftkey, learns how he speaks and writes, and suggests words he might want to use next.

Hawking has warned about the potential dangers of AI before. In April he co-wrote a piece for The Huffington Post predicting that the creation of AI could be “the biggest event in human history.” And possibly our last.

“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he recently told the BBC. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

His distinctive computer generated voice has not changed in the latest update. Hawking admits that it’s slightly robotic, but insists that he doesn’t want to change it.

“It has become my trademark, and I wouldn’t change it for a more natural voice with a British accent,” he said. “I’m told that children who need a computer voice, want one like mine.”