Well, it’s the price of fame. I’ve worked with several physically disabled kids who have to talk via straws and stuff – I was the guy that set up their computers and interfaces. [I volunteered for a cerebral palsy center in 1993/1994 in New Jersey, USA]
I set them up, taught the kids and taught the teachers. It was a blast.
And they’re perfectly capable of thinking any thought we think.
They just have mechanical troubles getting it *out* so that we can understand them.
Straw interfaces, finger boards and other alt.input devices all help.
But what’s criminal to me is the “assisted” talk where the mother’s are moving their kids hands. That pisses me off. It takes away from the VERY difficult effort required for them to communicate. They CAN communicate fine – just not at the speeds we like.
I have no doubt that these are Hawking’s thoughts. I *do* think he was influenced by some recent “ways of thinking” but I believe he assents to them as they’re rather in line with earlier things he’s done.