Brief Answers to the Big Questions (Stephen Hawking) – Short Review4 min read

Brief Answers to the Big Questions By Stephen Hawking Book Cover

Three Sentence Summary

Professor Steven Hawking provides a thought provoking book demonstrating his wisdom and unique way of thinking. The answering of some of humanities toughest questions in a succinct, simple, yet intellectual way not only makes this book accessible but a pleasure to read. A brilliant last entry and parting gift from a true genius of our time – he will be missed.

My Thoughts

In his final book before his death Steven Hawking has produced a thought provoking take on the next steps for humanity and his understanding of some of the biggest questions known to humans. Questions such as ‘How did it all begin?’, ‘Is time travel possible?’ and ‘Will we survive earth?’ are all answered in neat, succinct chapters. Each is the equivalent of an intellectual bed time story and displays the intelligence, wisdom and humour of this great man.
One chapter which seems extremely relevant in recent times is ‘Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?’. With the public release of AI chatbots like ChatGTP, imaging software such as Midjourney and note taking apps such as notion and Evernote implementing versions of AI it seems the revolution is now. The rate at which it has developed and its sudden rise has many areas of society worried. From Amazons book store having an influx of AI written books, students using ChatGTP to ‘aid’ coursework, to AI work winning photography competitions it’s no wonder it is such a hot topic. The lines between artistic human creation and robotic automation have been blurred. What is Hawking’s take on the matter? That they’re right to be concerned. For the short term AI’s impact is predominantly in the hands of who controls it. It is currently limited by the constraints we provide and our imagination. This however is developing at an alarming rate. The true precipice is when AI becomes better at designing AI than us. This would lead to an explosion in intelligence that could rapidly overtake our own. Humans would likely be superseded. For this reason the long term impact depends on whether AI can be controlled at all. For all the good it could be used for there is always the reverse. It could be put to work against the climate crisis or curing disease and famine alternatively it could be used in warfare such as drones and targeting systems. Either way Hawking’s final take is that ‘Our future is a race between the growing power of our technology and the wisdom with which we use it.’ Thought provoking indeed.
An other question which I took great interest in was ‘Will we survive Earth?’. The prediction being that within the next 1000 years an extinction level event will occur whether that be from nuclear war, an asteroid collision or a climate disaster. As the majority of the world has come to realise humans are destroying the one planet and home we currently have. Massive loss in biodiversity, vast production of carbon emissions and pollution in every environment possible has resulted in a world that is looking less and less inhabitable. Change needs to be swift in order to ensure the best possible outcome as the longer we leave it the less that can be saved. It’s nice to know that at least the scientific community seems to be in agreement that we need to change unlike our current world leaders.

Favourite Quote


‘For each mind to achieve it’s full potential, it needs a spark. The spark of enquiry and wonder.’


Throughout all this doom and gloom Professor Hawking’s still manages to convey optimism and an overall sense of inspiration. All the questions posed will most likely be further explained in the coming decades by new minds inspired by the work of geniuses past and present including Hawking’s. It’s this optimism that turns these questions from all doom and gloom into problems that are solvable providing hope for the future of humanity. This book is therefore well worth a read to enlighten you to the mind of a genius and some of the most pressing problems of humanity. 


If you’ve read this book already I’d love to know your thoughts. Let me know down below! 

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