While speaking at a youth festival in Sochi earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin of Russia warned that scientists tampering with the human genetic code were on the verge of acquiring the knowledge to create genetically-modified superhuman soldiers who feel no pain or fear. He warned that World War 3 could be fought by genetically-modified superhuman fighters trained to be deadly killers. Putin warned that such troops could prove to be more “destructive than nuclear bombs,” according to Express.
“Man has the opportunity to get into the genetic code created by either nature, or as religious people would say, by God,” Putin said. “All kinds of practical consequences may follow. One may imagine that a man can create a man not only theoretically but also practically.”
“[The genetically-modified man] can be… a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain.”
“As you understand, humanity can enter, and most likely it will in the near future,” he continued, “a very difficult and very responsible period of its existence. What I have just described might be worse than a nuclear bomb.”
Vladimir Putin advised the leading technological nations to have an agreement that imposes strict regulations on research to create genetically-modified (GM) superhumans who could be trained as deadly soldiers “worse than a nuclear bomb.”
He said that although research to create genetically-modified humans could bring benefits, such as creating genius mathematicians and talented musicians, it could also have serious consequences.
“When we do something, whatever we do… we must never forget about the ethical foundations of our work.”
Putin’s latest warning about the possible future of technology comes after he expressed concern about the risks of artificial Intelligence (AI). During a visit to the headquarters of the Russian technology firm Yandex, Putin asked the company’s head, Arkady Volozh, when AI would “eat us up.”
Volozh reportedly answered, “I hope never.”
When Yandex tried to defend AI by arguing that other machines, such as excavators, that humans have developed have not “eaten us up,” Putin countered, saying that excavators “don’t think.”
Putin’s apparent concern about AI was in sharp contrast to a more optimistic statement he made earlier that AI is the “future for all mankind.”
“Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere [artificial intelligence] will become the ruler of the world.”
Putin’s recent expression of concern about the future impact of AI echoed the recent spate of warnings by top scientists, including the British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.
The increasing urgency of warnings come as the technology giant Google announced it was setting up an ethics board to oversee the implementation of artificial intelligence. Shane Legg, the founder of Google’s AI company Deep Mind Technologies, warned recently that AI is the “number 1 risk” for the twenty-first century.
“Eventually, I think human extinction will probably occur, and technology will likely play a part in this.”
[Featured Image by Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images]