Wednesday 17 January 2018

Stephen Hawking shows his funny side

Eimear Phelan

On Sunday’s episode of Last week Tonight, a satirical news show hosted by John Oliver on HBO Stephen Hawking showed he was just as funny as the rest.

As part of the “Great minds: People who think good” series the 72-year-old theoretical physicist was invited to talk about the furore dangers of artificial intelligence (AI).


Hawking was on top form with razor sharp retorts to Oliver who asked questions people who “pretend to understand” his work would ask.


Hawking who was the first in the Great Minds series told Oliver it was the dingle greatest honour he received.


Hawking was clearly enjoying himself bantering with Oliver and the jokes about his difficult reading Hawking’s “tone of voice”.


Hawking also made fun of science fiction writers for not using his concept of “imaginary time” because “they don’t understand it”.


Oliver referenced Hawking’s views on AI and asked: “Are you saying that robots are going to destroy humanity?”


Hawking called AI “a real danger in the not too distant future” saying it could outsmart us all. He also dampened Oliver excitement about fighting a robot saying “you would lose”.


The conversation took a turn from there with Oliver suggesting that it was actually Hawking’s super computer talking, not him. “You’re an idiot” smiled Hawking in response.


Then Oliver attempted to use Hawking’s theories against him saying that in an infinite number of universes there could be one “where I am smarter than you?”


But Hawking wasn’t to be outdone saying there would also be one where Oliver is “funny”.


The video is gold with both men really bouncing well off each other. It’s worth watching all the way to the end.


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