Stephen Hawking: It's super-wealthy technology-owners, not robots, that we should really fear

 
Sarah Spickernell
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The scientist expects inequality to soar as robot-owners gain more wealth
The scientist expects inequality to soar as robot-owners gain more wealth (Source: Getty)

Robots stealing your job are the least of your worries, Stephen Hawking has said - it's the humans who own them that pose the biggest threat.

Hawking, who has in the past warned against the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, claims that "automated machines" are not in themselves the biggest problem facing a cohesive society and healthy economy.

During an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit yesterday said the humans behind these machines were the biggest risk, as they stand to accumulate wealth very quickly and may not be willing to share it.

Read more: A robot might steal your job, but it can never take your humanity

This, he said, has the potential to cause inequality to soar:

If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.

So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

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