Ya gotta read it.. but here's the money quotes:
Hawking discussed the idea of a repeating Big Bang. He noted that in the 1980s, he and physicist Roger Penrose proved the universe could not “bounce” when it contracted, as had been theorized.Therefore, time began at the moment of singularity, and this has likely occurred only once, Hawking said. The age of the universe — now believed to be about 13.8 billion years — fits that model, as the number and maturity of observed galaxies seem to fit in the general scheme.
He closed by outlining "M-theory," which is based partly on ideas put forward years ago by another famed physicist, Caltech’s Richard Feynman. Hawking sees that theory as the only big idea that really explains what he has observed.
M-theory posits that multiple universes are created out of nothing, Hawking explained, with many possible histories and many possible states of existence.
In only a few of these states would life be possible, and in fewer still could something like humanity exist. Hawking mentioned that he felt fortunate to be living in this state of existence.