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Larry King’s exclusive conversation with Stephen Hawking

Larry King NowJun 25 '16

Stephen Hawking – one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers, and a man who rarely gives interviews – joins Larry to discuss the greatest issues facing the planet, where artificial intelligence is headed (and what he makes of Kurzweil’s singularity theory), and what still mystifies him about the universe. Plus, astrophysicist Garik Israelian on creating the Starmus Festival, which celebrates the intersection of science and art and is this year dedicated to Hawking.


*Posted Online on Ora.TV on June 25th 2016:

Wecertainly have not become less greedy or less stupid. Six years ago Iwas warning about pollution and overcrowding, they have gotten worsesince then. The population has grown by half a billion since our lastmeeting with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by2100. Air pollution has increased by 8% over the past five years.

More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution.

Theincrease in air pollution and the emission of increasing levels ofcarbon dioxide. Will we be too late to avoid dangerous levels of globalwarming?

Governmentsseem to be engaged in an A.I. arms race, designing planes and weaponswith intelligent technologies. The funding for projects directlybeneficial to the human race, such as improved medical screening, seems asomewhat lower priority.

Ithink that his views are both too simplistic and too optimistic.Exponential growth will not continue to accelerate. Something we don’tpredict will interrupt it, as has happened with similar forecasts in thepast. And I don’t think advances in artificial intelligence willnecessarily be benign. Once machines reach the critical stage of beingable to evolve themselves, we cannot predict whether their goals will bethe same as ours.

ArtificialIntelligence has the potential to evolve faster than the human race.Beneficial AI could co-exist with humans, and augment our capabilities.But a rogue AI could be difficult to stop. We need to ensure that AI isdesigned ethically, with safeguards in place.

Ibelieve beneficial Artificial Intelligence will permeate throughoutevery aspect of our society. Imagine algorithms able to quickly assessscientists’ ideas, catch cancer earlier, and predict the stock markets.AI will impact our economies, our decision making, and our lives.

Whydo the universe and all the laws of nature exist, are theynecessary. In one sense, they are, because otherwise we wouldn’t behere to ask the question, but is there a deeper reason.

40years ago, I wrote a paper claiming that information about what fellinto a black hole, was lost for ever. The paper arousedcontroversy, which has continued until the present. The consensus wasthat information about what fell in, should be returned in the Hawkingradiation given off by the black hole, but no one could suggest amechanism. However, two colleagues and I discovered that the informationis encoded on the horizon, and will be returned.

Themost surprising was the discovery in 1998 that the rate of expansion ofthe universe is speeding up, rather than slowing down, as had beenexpected. This is said to be dark energy, but this is just a name givento something we don’t understand. In particular, we don’t understand whyit isn’t either exactly zero or very large, or whether it is constantas the universe expands.

Ifeel honored that this years Starmus festival has been dedicated to me.It is a unique science and arts festival, open to the public, thatbrings together acclaimed scientists, astronauts, cosmonauts, musicians,and artists, from around the world. I have invited many of my friendsand colleagues to Starmus, to share in this celebration with me.

Thefestival is attended by the public, who come to listen to the latestscientific thinking from eminent scientists and Nobel laureates,personal accounts given by astronauts and cosmonauts recounting theiradventures in space, and to enjoy musicians and artists exploring aspace theme.

It’s my commitments to science that has kept me going. There are questions I want to answer.

Ihave learnt a lot about women since then. Now it is ~ my turn to ask apersonal question, you have been married 8 times to 7 different women.Is that the triumph of hope over experience.