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The End of the World

“Technology & Human Aggression Will End the World”

By Advait Iyer

March 2017

Most of you reading this will probably know about how the 21st December 2012 had been considered as the end of the world. For those of you who missed out on this news, it goes a little something like this:

“The Ancient Mayans predicted that the world would end on 21st December, 2012 which sent the world into paranoia in the month of December. To tell you the truth, this terror actually began in 2009 when a movie made about the end of the world titled 2012 was released! Well, luckily for us and unluckily for social media, the Mayans’ calculations were wrong and all those hyper people on social media went quiet for a few days.”

But today, there’s been a new statement. Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has said, “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. Artificial Intelligence technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is feasible within years and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.” He has also suggested some sort of World Government to tackle these problems to stop this Doomsday from coming. Hawking has said that this government would be able to recognise various problems at an early stage and put an end to them.

Stephen Hawking

Honestly, I find this statement too blunt or open-ended. It can be interpreted in too many ways and unfortunately for us, it becomes hard to judge why he has made the above statement. It actually becomes a pretty challenging topic for debates as it can be interpreted in so many different ways. The final question remains, “What kind of problems is he talking about?”

He is definitely not talking about a meteor crashing into the Earth as that has nothing to do with human aggression. But is he talking about Climate Change? About Global Warming being the reason our world gets submerged? Possibly. By human aggression, he could mean us humans polluting the Earth, cutting down trees, and literally blowing holes into the ozone layer. One in every eight deaths on Earth can be linked to air pollution and breathing air in Mumbai or Beijing is equal to smoking around two packs of cigarettes! Temperatures are rising, animal numbers are diminishing and factories are producing smoke 24X7; the number of examples available for this doesn’t make it any better for us.

My second theory refers to Artificial Intelligence getting a bit too intelligent and taking over the world. AI encompasses everything from Siri to Google’s search algorithms, driverless cars to autonomous weapons. A recent instance of the emergence of AI could be the manner of selective personality targeting by Trump canvassers in the recent US presidential campaign.  This shows that AI could intentionally or unintentionally cause great harm and destruction.

The Climate Change theory is not a theory anymore and is very real and is the most urgent threat facing our world at this moment. We would definitely need a secret World Government to stop this, or else all our nightmares from Superhero movies would come true.

My third theory simply refers to Wars and Weapons. There are no shortages of examples for this and all one would have to do is open a history book. Many disasters have been caused with nuclear weapons and chemicals whose primary cause has been human aggression. This is by far the most probable theory with the whole statement simply referring to World War III.

Then again, all these examples are just theories and may well turn out to be overhyped just like the 21st of December 2012.

Rohil Bahl