Next step is machine intelligence – Quantum physicist Stephen Hawking says humans have entered a new phase of evolution, one that will be continued by our creation of intelligent machines. Evolution is one of the topics discussed in the Lloyd Pye subscriber interview this week.

Evolution used to proceed slowly, over millions of years of natural selection from random mutations. But now evolution has speeded up, and Hawking predicts that major changes will take place every 50 years.

On the Discovery Channel website, Casey Kazan quotes Hawking as saying, “At first these changes will be confined to the repair of genetic defects, like cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy. These are controlled by single genes, and so are fairly easy to identify, and correct. Other qualities, such as intelligence, are probably controlled by a large number of genes. It will be much more difficult to find them, and work out the relations between them. Nevertheless, I am sure that during the next century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence, and instincts like aggression.”

It’s a future we can only dream of today.

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