World-renowned theoretical physicist and international bestselling author Stephen Hawking talked imaginary time, how robots will one day be the end of humanity and how John Oliver will never, in any parallel universe or timeline, land a date with Charlize Theron on Oliver’s recent episode of Last Week Tonight.
Frequently cited as the one of the planet’s most intelligent people, Hawking gave us something else to be impressed with: his comedic timing. Half of the interview consisted of Hawking roasting Oliver by using his own wit against him. “You once stated that there could be an infinite number of parallel universes, so theoretically there could be a universe where I’m smarter than you,” opined Oliver. “Yes,” replied Hawking. “And also a universe where you’re funny.”
The pair did discuss serious issues, including the potential of nuclear annihilation and the dangers that humanity imposes upon ourselves. When the discussion turned to artificial intelligence, Hawking warned Oliver that it will most likely not have a positive outcome for humans because these artificial intelligences have the ability to reprogram and improve unlike their human creators.
“Who is talking to me right now,” Oliver asked in response. “You or the sentient computer pretending to talk on your behalf?”
“It’s me,” Hawking replied.
“Who’s saying that, Stephen? You or the machine?”
“Both of us.”
We may never know until it’s too late.