Stephen Hawking feared race of ‘superhumans’ able to manipulate their own DNA

Oct 15, 2018

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

Stephen Hawking, the physicist whose bodily paralysis turned him into a symbol of the soaring power of the human mind, feared a race of “superhumans” capable of manipulating their own evolution.

Before he died in March, the Cambridge University professor predicted that people this century would gain the capacity to edit human traits such as intelligence and aggression. And he worried that the capacity for genetic engineering would be concentrated in the hands of the wealthy.

Hawking mulled this future in a set of essays and articles being published posthumously Tuesday as “Brief Answers to the Big Questions,” a postscript of sorts to his 1988 “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” which has sold more than 10 million copies.

An excerpt released two days in advance by the Sunday Times sheds light on the final musings of the physicist and best-selling author beset by a degenerative motor neuron disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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