London: Earth is becoming too small and humanity is bound to self-destruct, with AI replacing us as the dominant being on the planet, according to scientist Stephen Hawking. Professor Hawking says that our time on Earth is numbered after we passed the point of "no return". The theoretical physicist says that developments in AI have been so great that the machines will one day be more dominant than human beings, express.co.uk reported.

He told Wired Magazine: "I fear that AI may replace humans altogether. If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. "This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans." Hawking, 75, said that humans need to leave Earth if we are to continue as a species He said a new space programme should be humanity's top priority "with a view to eventually colonising suitable planets for human habitation". This will allow us to leave Earth and colonise another planet to ensure our survival, otherwise there will be "serious consequences".

Professor Hawking added: "I believe we have reached the point of no return. Our earth is becoming too small for us, global population is increasing at an alarming rate and we are in danger of self-destructing." Last year, at the opening of Cambridge University's artificial intelligence centre, Professor Hawking said that AI could either be the best or worst invention humanity has ever made.

"This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.""The potential benefits of creating intelligence are huge. We cannot predict what we might achieve, when our own minds are amplified by AI. "Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one - industrialisation.

"And surely we will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty. Every aspect of our lives will be transformed, In short, success in creating AI, could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation."But it could also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. Alongside the benefits, AI will also bring dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many."

IANS