In a country that, according to Michael Gove, has “had enough of experts”, you might have expected the death of Stephen Hawking to trigger a bunting rush not seen on these shores since the street parties of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
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The mood has instead been one of regret over the loss of a uniquely brilliant mind, with glowing tributes swelling out from even the unlikeliest of sources to celebrate the physicist’s trailblazing work, astonishing constitution and puckish sense of humour.
We should see it as our cue to start listening to experts. When Hawking mentioned the ramifications leaving the EU could have on scientific research funding, the majority of us rolled our eyes.
So many listened to Gove and other Vote Leave goons over a real-life professor, and it’s seen the UK’s world standing in areas such as robotics and climate change significantly undermined. Looking back at it all, Hawking’s only crime was not being a big, red bus.
Most of us just aren’t as smart as he was, so we’re going to snub his thoughts on AI, too. There’s no doubt now, with even trusty Elon Musk tiring of caution like a peer-pressured teen dropping his homework to go out and smoke with the cool kids, that the first robot tears of laughter will be cried by the one reading back Hawking’s doomsday prophecies in the synthesised voice he once called his own.