Existential risk and human extinction: An intellectual history

  title={Existential risk and human extinction: An intellectual history},
  author={Thomas Moynihan},

Ripples on the Great Sea of Life: A Brief History of Existential Risk Studies

This paper explores the history of Existential Risk Studies (ERS). While concerns about human extinction can be traced back to the 19th century, the field only emerged in the last two decades with

Risks of space colonization

Space colonization is humankind's best bet for long-term survival. This makes the expected moral value of space colonization immense. However, colonizing space also creates risks --- risks whose

How Do AI Timelines Affect Existential Risk?

Superhuman artificial general intelligence could be created this century and would likely be a significant source of existential risk. Delaying the creation of superintelligent AI (ASI) could decrease

Mysterious faces of hybridisation: an anticipatory approach for crisis literacy

Our complex world is changing at such a pace that we are struggling to address many of the global challenges ahead of us. As one of its symptoms, hybridisation means that fields, functions,

Theories of global collapse: closing down or opening up the futures?

In this essay, we first ask what kind of rhetorical styles the theories of global collapse have when talking about futures. We claim that these theories manifest in one of three forms: prospective,

'Solving for X?' Towards a Problem-Finding Framework to Ground Long-Term Governance Strategies for Artificial Intelligence

Change is hardly a new feature in human affairs. Yet something has begun to change in change. In the face of a range of emerging, complex, and interconnected global challenges, society’s collective

Scenarios From Artificial Narrow Intelligence to Artificial General Intelligence—Reviewing the Results of the International Work/Technology 2050 Study

The article highlights how (invited) experts from different countries see the development of work and technology until 2050 and how they assess the three featured scenarios based on these views.



Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority

risks are those that threaten the entire future of humanity. Many theories of value imply that even relatively small reductions in net existential risk have enormous expected value. Despite their

Dead as a dodo: the fortuitous rise to fame of an extinction icon

This review indicates that although some ecological and evolutionary factors may have given the Dodo an increased chance of becoming famous, these factors are offset by a much greater series of serendipitous events, emphasising the importance of contingence and the fundamental lack of inevitability in historical processes.

A Spirit of Trust

Forty years in the making, this long-awaited reinterpretation of Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit is a landmark contribution to philosophy by one of the world's best-known and most influential

The Psychologization of Geological Catastrophe in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man

In the late eighteenth century, the French geologist, Georges Cuvier, employed fossil studies to prove the extinction of certain species, attributing their annihilation to past, sudden changes on the

D'Holbach's Coterie: An Enlightenment in Paris

Students of the Enlightenment have long assumed that the major movement towards atheism in the Ancien Regime was centered in the circle of intellectuals who met at the home of Baron d'Holbach during

Caricature as a Source for the History of Science: De la Beche's Anti-Lyellian Sketches of 1831

T HE VALUE OF CONTEMPORARY CARICATURES for the understanding of political and social history has long been recognized by general historians. The libelous lampoons of James Gillray, for example, can

Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view

In the fall semester of 1772/73 at the Albertus University of Konigsberg, Immanuel Kant, metaphysician and professor of logic and metaphysics, began lectures on anthropology, which he continued until

The evolution of foresight: What is mental time travel, and is it unique to humans?

It is submitted that mental time travel is not an encapsulated cognitive system, but instead comprises several subsidiary mechanisms that allow prediction of future situations and should be considered in addition to direct evidence of future-directed action.

The Unnatural History of the Sea

Humanity can make short work of the oceans' creatures. In 1741, hungry explorers discovered herds of Steller's sea cow in the Bering Strait, and in less than thirty years, the amiable beast had been

Georges Cuvier, Fossil Bones, and Geological Catastrophes: New Translations and Interpretations of the Primary Texts

Until quite recently, French zoologist Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) opposed the biological theory of evolution, and championed the geological theory of catastrophism; but his research on fossils helped