Teaching machines to be kind is not enough, she says, as robots could decide that the greatest compassion to humans as a race is to get rid of everyone to end suffering.

‘The most important work of our lifetime is to ensure that machines are capable of understanding human value,’ she said at the recent ‘Conference by Media Evolution’ in Sweden.

‘It is those values that will ensure machines don’t end up killing us out of kindness.’

Ms Watson claims computer chips could soon have the same level of brain power as a bumblebee – allowing them to analyse social situations and their environment.