Artificial Intelligence, Human Evolution, and the Speed of Learning

  • Michael A. Peters
  • Petar JandrićEmail author
Part of the Perspectives on Rethinking and Reforming Education book series (PRRE)


Stephen Hawking suggests that a living system has the two parts: “a set of instructions that tell the system how to sustain and reproduce itself, and a mechanism to carry out the instructions” (genes and metabolism). On this definition, computer viruses count as living systems as do artificial intelligences. Hawking explains that human evolution has speeded up. While “there has been no detectable change in human DNA”, “the amount of knowledge handed on from generation to generation has grown enormously” (maybe a hundred thousand times as much as in DNA). This signals that we have entered a new stage of evolution—from natural selection based on the Darwinian model of internal transmission to cultural or self-designed evolution based on an accelerated external transmission of information. This paper presents a thought experiment about philosophical and educational consequences of the possible arrival of: (1) Hawking-inspired postdigital human beings created through self-designed evolution quicker than non-tampered (natural) evolution of human intelligence and (2) algorithmic non-carbon-based “living” systems. In our postdigital age, we are slowly but surely taking natural selection into our own hands, and we need to grapple with the pertinent responsibility.


Stephen hawking Artificial intelligence Evolution Education Algorithm Postdigital 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Zagreb University of Applied SciencesZagrebCroatia

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