A prominent professor has issued a dire message about Artificial Intelligence. Speaking in a recent interview, Stephen Hawking predicts AI will one day surpass and replace humans.

The birth of a new life form

While not providing a specific timeline, Hawking expects the rapid rise of AI will create a “new form of life.” If humans can produce computer viruses, eventually a programmer will design AI with the ability to expand and duplicate itself, according to the renowned scientist.

During the interview with Wired, Hawking had another imminent warning.

With the exponential growth of the human race, the Earth is quickly reaching a point of unsustainability due to overcrowding. Unless people start inhabiting other planets, humans “are in danger of self-destructing.”

Stephen Hawking’s dark message

Professor Hawking warning us about AI is not new. He told the BBC nearly three years ago how thinking machines would become smarter than humans and take over. The end to life as we know it can happen after “the development of full artificial intelligence,” he warned in December 2014.

The professor repeated his cautionary message in October 2016 during a speech at The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence in Cambridge. According to Hawking, AI could essentially become self-aware and create conflict with humans.

Just like something out of the Terminator movies, smart robots may develop powerful, deadly weapons in an attempt to rule the planet.

Short-term benefits with long-term consequences

In the short term, Hawking believes AI will benefit all humans. However, in the long term, it may be the end of us all unless people at the forefront of AI development put in protections against robots getting too intelligent.

AI is already affecting our world. Last month, Saudi Arabia granted citizen to a robot. Sophia, a human-like android designed by Hanson Robotics, became a legal resident of the Middle Eastern country. Strangely, with Sophia’s newfound status, a machine now has more rights than women living in the region.

Artificial intelligence will ultimately reduce the number of employment opportunities for humans as well.

Research and consulting firm PwC published a study predicting smart robots will do nearly 40 percent of all U.S. jobs within 13 years.

A new hope

With Hawking’s chilling prophecies about AI and planet overcrowding, the physicist is actively encouraging young people to get involved with science. Hopefully, the next generation of scientists will find ways to reduce overpopulation and keep AI from taking over the world before humans reach the point of no return.