Since March of this year, Stephen Hawking is dead. Now the posterity on the spiritual legacy of this great scientist. A few days ago published colleagues, the last study on the physics of Black holes, which he wrote.

in addition to his scientific work, Hawking was also thinking about the “big questions” of humanity. For this purpose, he kept an extensive archive of his answers in the Form of Speeches, Interviews, Essays, and opinions. From this collection, the book “Short answers to big questions” that appears in the Klett-Cotta-Verlag.

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it is not just about Hawking’s discoveries in his field of research, for example, about Black holes, but also to the creation of the universe, extraterrestrial intelligence, how important it is to colonize space, the dangers and promise of artificial intelligence and self-existence (or Non-existence) of God. In consequence, some of the questions along with the Hawkings are presented answers.

there Is other intelligent life in the universe?

Fossil evidence suggests that around three and a half billion years ago first life forms walked the earth – so only 500 million years after our Planet was for the development of organisms is stable and cool enough. Their early appearance suggests that life under suitable conditions with a certain probability.

Accordingly, it would have to be many other stars, whose planets support life. Why is overrun so in the milky way, not of life-forms, and why we have not been visited or even colonized? Perhaps the probability of the spontaneous emergence of life is so low that the earth is the only Planet in the milky way galaxy or in the observable universe, on which this event took place.

another possibility would be that a self-reproducing form systems such as cells often, but not higher forms of life arise – and if they do, this will develop no intelligence. As a third possibility, of intelligent life can occur, but the System is unstable and organisms self-destruct.

The fourth possibility is Hawking calls his beloved one: There are other intelligences, but they have overlooked so far. That is, they would have to exist at a great distance from us, because they had visited the earth a long time ago. “And I think we would have noticed if we’d get a visit; it would be like in the movie Independence Day,” writes Hawking.

we Can predict the future?

Yes and no, responds to Hawking. For this to succeed, first assumed by the French scholar Pierre-Simon Laplace in the early 19th century. Century scientific determinism devised. He believed that an intelligence that knows in a given moment, positions and velocities of all particles in the universe, could compute the “movements of the largest heavenly body and of the lightest Atom”. Nothing would be the later so-called Laplace’s demon is uncertain, the future and the past were clear before his eyes.

work In practice, such calculations but only to a limited extent, because the equations are very complex, and because there are chaotic systems. This means that a tiny disturbance can cause at a place elsewhere, great effects. Famous example is the wing beat of a butterfly in China triggering a downpour in Berlin. However, this process is not repeatable, because the next wing beat other conditions.

In the 20th century. Century turned out to Laplaces idea as untenable. As a physicist, the quantum mechanics developed. The “Heisenberg uncertainty principle”. She States that speed and Position of an atomic particle are, in principle, simultaneously precisely measurable, and withdrew from the determinism as the basis. In its place, the chance, the rules in the quantum world came.

After all, quantum mechanics allows, a combination of Position and velocity to predict with certainty. In Black holes this limited capability is lost. In principle, writes Hawking, would allow the laws of nature to predict the future. But in practice, the calculations are hardly possible.

is time travel possible?

in Principle, Yes, writes Hawking, but again the practical obstacles seem too big, and perhaps even the laws of nature are contrary to such travel. Originally a space-ship seemed to suffice, with the ability to fly faster than the speed of light. It would travel in the future, because it overtakes the light rays emanating from past events.

A further possibility of worm holes. So physicists call a Tunnel in the fabric of spacetime that connects two points in the universe. In order to generate it, would have to be curved, the space between the points so strong that a short cut compared to the straight track. A space ship in it would not exceed the speed of light, however, in relation to the Start and finish points, the journey would have taken place with superluminal speed.

Hawking is even more hypothetical options and not say, why they work. In order to create such a wormhole artificially, you would need the density of matter with a negative mass and negative energy to bend space-time in the required manner. No one knows whether it exists at all. Hawking speaks of the “chronology protection conjecture”: The laws of physics conspire to prevent time travel.

in 2009, he organized, in Cambridge a Party for time travelers. Only real time travelers come, sent out the invitations until after the event. On the day of the Party he was in College and waited, but nobody came. So he had shown, concludes Hawking that time travel is possible, if General relativity is true and the energy density is positive. “But I would be very pleased if a would have put out my assumptions to be wrong,” he admits.

Will surpass Artificial intelligence?

Before that, Hawking warned tirelessly. The Artificial intelligence (AI)could be a blessing for humanity, but also her curse. To establish it, would be the biggest event in the history of mankind. But it could also be her last event – unless we can learn to avoid risks.

On the one hand, the potential Benefit of KI was immense. So, you could help them to overcome disease and poverty, as well as science and society in all areas. On the other hand, confesses Hawking, he is afraid of the possible consequences, if we create something that is the human equal to him or even superior.

Because AI systems would be able, alone, to continue and perfect himself. And you might develop a will of its own that speaks to our will. An example of Autonomous weapons systems, which select their targets independently and eliminate. People could not keep up in all of this, and would be displaced.

The real risk is not the wickedness, but the competence of a super-intelligent AI. You will drive your goals undeterred – and this should not be our match, we would get into trouble. Therefore, we need to keep control of more and more advanced AI systems. “Our future is a race between the growing Power of our technologies and the wisdom with which we make use of it”, and detects Hawking. “We should make sure that the wisdom of wins.”

there Is a God?

no, says Hawking, and provides a scientifically fundamental justification for his attitude to the Faith. Crucial for the discovery of the laws of nature. Because they show whether we need a God to explain the universe. You acknowledge that you are immutable, quickly the question: What role then remains for God?

The last remaining area that Religion still claim as their own, see Hawking on the origin of the universe. For him there is no doubt that it arose spontaneously in a sense of self: It emerged in the big Bang, out of nowhere, without violating the known laws of nature. The question of whether a God created the universe, considers it as a pointless. Because before the big Bang no time existed, so there was no time, in the God of the universe could have been created.

This leads to the question: Has God created those quantum laws that allowed the big Bang? He was convinced “that the natural Sciences provide a more coherent explanation than a divine Creator,” says Hawking. From all this he concludes that there is no God, and therefore, probably no heaven and no life after death. “But there is a Form in which we live: in our influence and in the genes that we pass on to our children,” is his Credo. “We only have this life to appreciate the great Plan of the universe, and for that I am extremely grateful.”

In the FOCUS Online/Wochit writings surfaced: Before his death, Hawking expressed his greatest fear


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.