Stephen Hawking is sometimes called the world's smartest man. He's a theoretical physicist famous for unifying the theory of relativity with quantum mechanics in cosmology, predicting the nature of black hole radiation and writing the bestseller "A Brief History of Time."
But his brilliant mind is trapped in a body with motor neuron disease. He's almost completely unable to move. For most of his life, he's relied on cutting-edge technology to help him communicate with the world. His eye movements are tracked by a computer system that allows him to form words for speech or writing.
His technology just got upgraded with the same computer program you and I can use to make typing easier on our smartphones or tablets. SwiftKey is an app for Android and iOS gadgets that can predict what you're trying to say as you type. If you have rushed or sloppy typing, that's OK because SwiftKey can figure out the word you meant to type. It can also predict the next word in your sentence. It's really smart and accurate.
That's why it makes perfect sense for Stephen Hawking. It cuts down on the time it takes him to "type" and improves his accuracy. Instead of typing letter-by-letter, he can "type" word-by-word. The Next Web reports:
Professor Hawking’s typing speed is twice as fast with the new system and there is a 10x improvement in common tasks, such as easier, more accurate and faster browsing, editing, managing and navigating the Web, emails and documents; opening a new document; and saving, editing and switching between tasks.
His new system was custom-built for him by SwiftKey in collaboration with Intel. Smart computers are improving his life, but Hawking is still wary of computers getting too smart. Click here to read why Stephen Hawking thinks artificial intelligence is the gravest threat to human existence.