Professor Stephen Hawking asks us to consider what we should value as society

November 2016 | 3 min read

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Professor Hawking explains why we must question what we mean by wealth and what we must retain to be inherently human. This is The Resolution.

"Voltaire wrote that we should judge a man by his questions, and not his answers." Which is why I was pleased to launch Unlimited earlier this year, the thought leadership platform powered by UBS, the purpose of which is to seek answers to life’s big questions.

The first question they asked was 'Does wealth make us rich anymore'? In the intervening six months, they have uncovered a variety of answers, from new forms of currency to models of communal living but the real significance was that they asked the question at all. We need as a species to consider what we mean by wealth, by possessions, by yours and mine.

As the world shifts to a place where technology seems to hold limitless possibilities, we need a debate about what we value as societies, what we must retain to be inherently human and what we feel able to compromise on. The rise of AI and a planet in which routine tasks are increasingly undertaken by machines makes the need to understand this question and what makes us ‘rich’ ever more pressing.

We need to develop maps to help us explore this uncharted territory, in which humanity could take a great leap forward, and be thrust back into a darker age.

I am an optimist, because I believe that the capacity of the human species to explore and discover and question is truly Unlimited. That if we work together there is nothing that we cannot understand or achieve.

Which is why I look forward to the next topic which this fascinating project chooses to explore.

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