Stephen Hawking feared that a rich, 'superhuman' species is set to end humanity

Key Points
  • The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has, posthumously, released a new book.
  • The book has revealed the physicist’s apocalyptic theory about genetic engineering.
  • Hawking has given a stark warning about the rise of a "superhuman" species.
Professor Stephen Hawking
Bruno Vincent | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Stephen Hawking has suggested that the advance of genetic engineering might lead to a new species of superhuman that could destroy the rest of humanity.

The world-famous physicist and author, who died in March aged 76, has laid down the theory in his new book, released Tuesday. The posthumous book, titled "Brief Answers to the Big Questions," is a collection of Hawking's articles and essays that outline Hawking's final thoughts on the universe.

In one section, Hawking described an apocalyptic scenario should genetic engineering favor people who could afford to make themselves smarter, more disease resistant, and likely to live longer.

"Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won't be able to compete," Hawking wrote before adding "presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant."

The physicist said he expected laws to be put in place to prevent genetic engineering in humans but ultimately some would not be able to "resist the temptation" to improve their human capabilities.

In March, it was revealed that Hawking had also made a theory outlining a separate prediction for the end of the world. Hawking's final work when alive — titled "A Smooth Exit From Eternal Inflation" — predicted how our universe would eventually fade to darkness as the stars run out of energy.

The physicist, who was perhaps best known for his work on black holes and the theory of relativity, has also previously pushed the theory that Earth will turn into a giant ball of fire by 2600.

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