Professor Stephen Hawking has stated that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to be a huge benefit or a significant threat to humanity.
Hawking was speaking at the opening of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, an organisation set up at Cambridge University to consider questions posed by AI research.
Hawking warned once again that AI could be the "worst thing to happen to humanity", but he also noted that, if done right, it could be the best.
"We spend a great deal of time studying history which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity. So it's a welcome change that people are studying instead the future of intelligence," he said.
Hawking also emphasised the good that AI could bring to society. "The potential benefits of creating intelligence are huge. We cannot predict what we might achieve when our own minds are amplified by AI," he said.
"Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one - industrialisation. And surely we will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty.
"Every aspect of our lives will be transformed. In short, success in creating AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation."
Acquisitions of AI firms have risen sharply in recent years as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple fight to hoover up the best talent and technology.
Toyota recently announced a $1bn investment in a new AI research facility, while Intel acquired AI specialist Nervana Systems in a $400m deal in August and Apple headhunted a top AI researcher from Carnegie Mellon University.
AI is undoubtedly seen as a key technology that will improve and potentially provide huge benefits, but Hawking is not alone in voicing concerns.
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