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Humans extinct by 2040, says BT boffin
By Chris Lee [19-12-2001]
Telco's futurologist enters into the Christmas spirit

The human race will be extinct by 2040 unless it puts serious controls on its own technological advances, according to BT 'futurologist' Ian Pearson.

Speaking exclusively to, Pearson, of the telco's BTexact development arm, said that scenarios envisioned by science fiction movies such as Terminator were no longer mere fantasy.

"In 1900 there were only a few ways for the planet to be wiped out: comet, disease etc. But in the last few decades we have amassed a whole plethora of possibilities: nuclear, environmental, biological, and a lot of future threats will come from computing," he said.

According to Pearson, artificial intelligence (AI) will soon make robots that are more intelligent than humans, and which will pre-empt human actions and possibly assume control of critical assets.

"We've managed to get ourselves into a position where the statistical chances of extinction will soon exceed one per cent. It means that sometime in the next 100 years the human race will be wiped out somehow," he said. "By 2011 we estimate that an AI body will have passed GCSEs, A Levels and gained a degree."

"Given this and the rate of technological advancement, I think the human race could be extinct within the next 30 to 40 years," he concluded.

All in the name of scientific vanity. What the world needs now is love, as someone once said.

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