Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku believes that humans will make contact with alien civilization this century, but expects they will be largely peaceful – unlike robots, which pose a greater threat to humanity.
Kaku made the revelations during a Reddit AMA (Ask me Anything), where intrigued users asked questions relating to artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life. “Let me stick my neck out. I personally feel is that within this century, we will make contact with an alien civilization, by listening in on their radio communications,” Kaku stated, adding that he expects they will see us like we see forest animals.
“And what are their intentions. Are they expansive and aggressive, or peaceful. Another possibility is that they land on the White House lawn and announce their existence. But I think that is unlikely, since we would be like forest animals to them, i.e. not worth communicating with.”
Kaku doubled down on this theory in another response, musing that humans will probably be seen as insignificant to alien society. At the core of their peaceful approach is knowledge, according to Kaku, who believes the extraterrestrials have had thousands of years to resolve sectarian, fundamentalist, nationalist questions.
The physicist admitted, however, that this neutral stance could shift if “we get in the way.” “They still might be dangerous if they simply don’t care about us and we get in the way. In War of the Worlds, the aliens did not hate us. We were simply in the way.”
“But for the most part, I think they will be peaceful, but view us like we view forest animals,” he concluded.
In contrast, Kaku suggested that robots will need chips implanted in their brains to control any “murderous thoughts.” Envisaging their future development, the scientist predicts that their intelligence level will go from that of a bug to a level on par with that of a monkey. “By that point they might become dangerous and even replace humans, near the end of the century. So I think we should put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they have murderous thoughts.”
Ultimately, humans may have to accept their fate and merge with their robot overlords, according to Kaku. “But what happens centuries from now, when robots evade even our most sophisticated fail-safe system?? At that point, I think we should merge with them."
“This may sound strange to some people, but remember that it is the people of the far future (not us) who will decide how far they want to modify themselves to deal with super smart robots.”
The dangers of AI and the grim possibility of a future with ‘killer robots’ have been addressed by several industry experts, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. Musk was among more than a hundred tech leaders to call on the United Nations to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons, or ‘killer robots, last year. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO believes AI is a “fundamental threat to human civilization.”
World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking holds similar fears about the future of AI, warning that one day robots could entirely edge out human beings and become a new life form.
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