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Stephen Hawking Launches Science Communication Medal

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London Stephen Hawking, Renowned British cosmologist launched an award in his own name for science communication on Wednesday.

The award named ‘Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication’ will be bestowed upon those who brought science closer to the public using media such as music cinema, art and writing.

The medal was launched at an event at the Royal Society, which is Britain’s de facto academy of sciences.

“I’m happy to say I’m here today not to accept a medal but to announce one,” Hawking, who has a known sense of humour joked during the medal launch.

“When I wrote ‘A Brief History of Time’ I was told that no one would want to read a hardback book about physics. Fortunately for me, it turned out not to be true,” he added, alluding to his best-selling famous science book.

“People worldwide display an incredible appetite of scientific information… The public want to know, they want to understand,” said the cosmologist.

The first medals, which will be awarded in 2016 summer will be categorized into scientific, artistic and film communities sections.

The Starmus Festival, a gathering which celebrates art and science in Canary Islands, Spain, from June 27 to July 2 next year, will be the venue for the announcement of the winners.

Brian May, guitarist of British rock band Queen, who is one of the supporters of Starmus Festival also attended Wednesday’s press conference.

“When I was a boy I had two separate dreams, two passions. One was to be an astronomer and the other was to be a musician,” said May.

“I returned to astronomy about eight years ago and completed to become a doctor in astrophysics,” May added. (image source: starmus)

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Stephen Hawking believes Technology could end Poverty and Disease, says Artificial Intelligence could be the Worst or Best things for Humanity

Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

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Stephen Hawking
Cosmologist Stephen Hawking delivers a video message during the inauguration of Web Summit, Europe's biggest tech conference, in Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 6, 2017. (VOA)

Lisbon, November 7, 2017 : Technology can hopefully reverse some of the harm caused to the planet by industrialization and help end disease and poverty, but artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be controlled, physicist Stephen Hawking said on Monday.

Hawking, a British cosmologist who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21, said technology could transform every aspect of life but cautioned that artificial intelligence poses new challenges.

He said artificial intelligence and robots are already threatening millions of jobs — but this new revolution could be used to help society and for the good of the world such as alleviating poverty and disease.

“The rise of AI could be the worst or the best thing that has happened for humanity,” Stephen Hawking said via telepresence at opening night of the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon that is attended by about 60,000 people.

“We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance.”

Hawking’s comments come during an escalating debate about the pro and cons of artificial intelligence, a term used to describe machines with a computer code that learns as it goes.

ALSO READ Humanity’s days are numbered, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will cause mass extinction, warns Stephen Hawking

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is chief executive of electric car maker Tesla Inc and rocket company SpaceX, has warned that AI is a threat to humankind’s existence.

But Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, in a rare interview recently, told the WSJ Magazine that there was nothing to panic about.

Stephen Hawking said everyone has a role to play in making sure that this generation and the next are fully engaged with the study of science at an early level to create “a better world for the whole human race.”

ALSO READ Indian Origin Scientist Part of the team that Developed Nanotechnology-based Test that quickly Detects Zika Virus

“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be,” said Stephen Hawking, who communicates via a cheek muscle linked to a sensor and computerized voice system.

“You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted, or expected, and to think big. We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting — if precarious — place to be and you are the pioneers,” he said. (VOA)

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