Stephen Hawking: superhuman race develop from wealthy people.
Stephen Hawking has sparked controversy in an essay published posthumously today.
The academic has triggered uproar by suggesting a new race of superhumans could develop from wealthy people choosing to edit their and their children’s DNA.
Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time, who died in March, made the predictions in a collection of articles and essays.
“I am sure that during this century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence and instincts such as aggression,” he wrote.
“Laws will probably be passed against genetic engineering with humans.
“But some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life.”
“Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete,” he wrote.
“Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant.
“Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.”
Hawking’s predictions stem from gene-editing technology that already exists.
The Crispr-Cas9, invented six years ago, is a DNA-editing system that allows scientists to modify bad genes or add new ones, and it has been used to treat children that were predisposed to serious illnesses such as an otherwise incurable cancer.