By Dan Satherley
In the year 2029, humanity is almost completely obliterated, and the survivors of a nuclear holocaust are at war with an artificial intelligence network and its army of cyborg killing machines.
That's the premise for the fictional movie Terminator, but could it become a reality? That's what academics at Cambridge University want to find out.
"It seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape from the constraints of biology," says Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price.
To prepare for this, the university is setting up a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, which will look into the "four greatest threats" to humanity, reports the Huffington Post: artificial intelligence, climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.
It hopes to bring together philosophers, astronomers, biologists, neuroscientists and economics experts to look into scenarios which could end the human race.
"It tends to be regarded as a flakey concern, but given that we don't know how serious the risks are, that we don't know the time scale, dismissing the concerns is dangerous," says Prof Price.
"What we're trying to do is to push it forward in the respectable scientific community."
He says humans' spread across the globe has been a disaster for many other species, and the same thing could happen to us in the next century, if computers somehow become self-aware, and start directing resources for their own benefit.
British astronomer royal Lord Martin Rees and Skype founder Jann Tallinn are also involved in the new centre, which aims to launch next year.
source: newshub archive