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People were skeptical of Elon Musk's fear of AI. With Hawking backing up Musk's predictions, people will look give it a closer look. Hawking was an incredible man that will be remembered as one of the foremost thinkers of our time.
 

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Stephen Hawking was not just brilliant, he was one of those superbly gifted individuals who could reduce incredibly complex concepts to a point that they could be reasonably be understood by the masses, as illustrated by his tome, "A Brief History of Time." The man intentionally and unintentionally taught us so many. many things! May he rest in peace.
 

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When I was growing up the question was, "Where is this generation's Einstein?" Now we are left to ask, "Where is the next generation's Hawking?" Minds like theirs come along so seldom.
 

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A physicist myself, it's hard to overstate the impact Hawking has had on me simply by being such an iconic figure in the field (and physics is a field which attracts iconic figures.)

As an undergraduate, I had the honor of being invited to join David Finkelstein - who postulated the event horizon and gave us our first model of the black hole - as a member of his quantum topology workshop. David knew Hawking and all the major figures in the "black hole war"; I can't say at the time that I particularly took sides, and eventually I moved from gravity and cosmology to chemical physics and biophysics (following an interest in biological systems), but later on as an informed spectator I moved more into Lenny Susskind's camp and away from Hawking's assertion that information is lost in black hole evaporation (a radical suggestion at the time.)

I will say that, to me, Hawking "died" some time ago - for a number of years, I have shared Susskind's and others' concern that Hawking was "locked in", and that much of what he has "said" in the past few years is really just his handlers, not Hawking himself. I'm skeptical that many of his recent pronouncements about AI, for example, are actually sourced from Hawking, but rather were handlers using Hawking's "brand" for their own ends. So in some sense, I'm glad that Hawking can finally escape this abuse in death.

I hope I'm wrong, but I know too many insiders who've held this view, so I'm inclined to believe it.

That said, Hawking was a true inheritor of "the mantle" held by Newton, Einstein and others who directed the course of mathematical science, as well as a truly impressive example of sheer gumption in the face of absolute medical calamity.

DH
 
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