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11 ways the world (as we know it) could end

By: Laura Moss on Feb. 16, 2011, 10:20 a.m.

Photo: shevvers/iStockphoto

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Computers take over

It may sound a lot like the plot of “The Terminator,” but computer technology is advancing daily and some believe that self-aware machines could become self-replicating and take over. After all, there are few areas of life where computers don’t intrude — they run banks, hospitals, stock markets and airports. Previously, computers were only as good as the humans using them, but artificial intelligence has the potential to create independently acting machines capable of outsmarting or destroying their creators.

Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking thinks computers could be a threat and argues that humans should be genetically engineered in order to compete with the phenomenal growth of artificial intelligence. In a recent interview he even said, “The danger is real that they could develop intelligence and take over the world.” The idea of a computer takeover may sound absurd, but you never know, we could be in the Matrix right now.