Bridey Heing
July 27, 2015 8:16 am

After a brief hiatus, Reddit’s popular AMA (Ask Me Anything) forum is back, and someone incredible is ready to take your questions. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking himself is currently collecting questions for his AMA, which is focused on Artificial Intelligence and formatted just a bit differently than the typical celebrity AMA.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is a topic Hawking has been spending a lot of time investigating and raising awareness about. He’s concerned that the growth of AI could have serious risks for mankind, and he was one of the signers on an open letter that explained those concerns earlier this year.

“The potential benefits are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence,” the letter reads, “we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable. Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.”

Hawking wants to see safety measures introduced to AI research, and he’s doing an AMA to help spread the word about what he sees as a critical need for a better understanding of the risks posed by AI.

“Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on it’s own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate,” Hawking said in a recent BBC interview. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.”

For his AMA, Hawking isn’t following the usual few hour timeline, wherein a celeb answers questions in real time. Instead, the thread for questions will be open for about a week, after which Hawking and moderators from /r/Science will begin adding answers. Within the first hour of being open, the thread had over 800 comments, and the total currently stands at almost 2500.

Although Hawking hasn’t answered questions yet, debates are already happening as Reddit-users strike up conversations based on questions. Many are sticking to concrete AI questions, but of course, questions are getting really philosophical. For example, user Camsy34 asks: “If a more advanced civilization were to contact you personally, would you tell them to reveal the secrets of the cosmos to humanity, or tell them to keep it to themselves?”

To add your question or to check out the debates currently taking place, head over to /r/Science. You might just get an answer from Stephen Hawking himself.

(Image via Discovery Channel)

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