Authors
Nick Bostrom
Oxford University
Abstract
Because of accelerating technological progress, humankind may be rapidly approaching a critical phase in its career. In addition to well-known threats such as nuclear holocaust, the propects of radically transforming technologies like nanotech systems and machine intelligence present us with unprecedented opportunities and risks. Our future, and whether we will have a future at all, may well be determined by how we deal with these challenges. In the case of radically transforming technologies, a better understanding of the transition dynamics from a human to a "posthuman" society is needed. Of particular importance is to know where the pitfalls are: the ways in which things could go terminally wrong. While we have had long exposure to various personal, local, and endurable global hazards, this paper analyzes a recently emerging category: that of existential risks. These are threats that could case our extinction or destroy the potential of Earth - originating intelligent life. Some of these threats are relatively well known while others, including some of the gravest, have gone almost unrecognized. Existential risks have a cluster of features that make ordinary risk management ineffective. A final section of this paper discusses several ethical and policy implications. A clearer understanding of the threat picture will enable us to formulate better strategies.
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.Nick Bostrom (ed.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

A History of Transhumanist Thought.Nick Bostrom - 2005 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 14 (1):1-25.
Existential Risk, Creativity & Well-Adapted Science.Adrian Currie - forthcoming - Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science.

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