January Newsletter


GCRI Director of Research Tony Barrett led a symposium on global catastrophic risk at the 2016 meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis, December 11-15 in San Diego. The 2016 GCRI symposium featured five talks focused on risks from AI and nuclear weapons. These included Barrett’s presentation, “Technology Forecasting for Analyzing Future Global Catastrophic Risks” and GCRI Associate Roman Yampolskiy’s presentation, “Artificial General Intelligence Risk Analysis”. SRA is the premier academic and professional society for risk analysis. GCRI has led symposia at SRA since 2010.

GCRI Associate Matthijs …

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FiveThirtyEight: What a Balloon’s Pop Tells Us About the End of the World

FiveThirtyEight’s “Science Questions from a Toddler” used a three-year old’s question about why balloon’s pop as a jumping off point for a general discussion of catastrophic risks. The article mentions GCRI, along with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), and the Future of Life Institute (FLI). In an interview, GCRI associate Kaitlin Butler told FiveThirtyEight that awareness of catastrophic risks is making scientists and governments take into account to a greater extent “issues like public health, social justice and indirect risks …

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Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: Trump and Global Catastrophic Risk

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum has a new article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on what Donald Trump’s election means for global catastrophic risk, which has been covered in Quartz and Elite Daily. Baum writes that the fact that Trump will have the authority to launch nuclear weapons should particularly concern us, given his tendency to behave erratically, Trump’s election also has implications for the prospect of conflict with Russia and China, the stability of the global world order, the survival of democracy in the US, and our …

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November Newsletter: Media Engagement Intern Program

Dear friends,

I am delighted to announce GCRI’s new media engagement internship program. We have selected four people from a highly competitive pool of applicants. Each of the interns is a talented student or young professional with a promising career in global catastrophic risk ahead. They are Marilyn Cotrich, an undergraduate at Arizona State; Jenny Mith, a community manager at IVY; Adam Scholl, a media entrepreneur and independent analyst; and Lena Wang, an undergraduate at the University of Sydney currently on exchange at UCLA. They are …

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NonProphets Podcast: Forecasting Global Catastrophe

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum was interviewed about forecasting and preventing global catastrophes on NonProphets. NonProphets is a weekly podcast about forecasting hosted in part by GCRI Director of Communications Robert de Neufville. You can download the podcast here.

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Scientific American: Should We Let Uploaded Brains Take Over?

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum has guest blog post in Scientific American on whether we should “upload” our brains to electronic computers. He argues that while there might be substantial benefits to uploading our brains this way, the technology would create new risks as well. While it may be decades or even centuries before we have the technical ability to emulate human brains, we should begin to consider those risks now.

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Seth Baum at The Story Collider October 18

If you are in New York, you can hear GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum speak in Brooklyn on October 18 at the Story Collider, an event for personal stories about science. The event has a pre-Halloween theme of fear. Baum will talk about his experience of the heated debate he sparked last year about winter-safe deterrence.

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Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: Tackling AI Threats

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum has a new article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on how we can tackle near and far AI threats at once. The article describes the disagreement among AI experts over whether near-term or long-term AI issues are more important. It argues that the disagreement can be resolved by focusing on opportunities to address both sets of issues at the same time. The article looks specifically at ways we can address both sets of issues through social norms, technical research, and public …

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GCR News Summary August/September 2016

EU Parliament in Strasbourg image courtesy of  David Iliff under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 license

By Matthijs Maas

In the early hours of September 9, North Korea carried out its fifth nuclear test, its biggest ever at an estimated 10 kilotons. The test, which was first detected as a magnitude 5.3-earthquake, was condemned by the UN Security Council, as well as leaders from across the world. In a statement, North Korea said it had tested a “nuclear warhead… standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets”. …

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October Newsletter: Society for Risk Analysis Symposium

2016 Society for Risk Analysis Meeting

GCRI will lead a symposium on global catastrophic risk at the 2016 meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), December 11-15 in San Diego. SRA is the premier academic and professional society for risk analysis. GCRI has led symposiums at SRA meetings since 2010. The 2016 GCRI symposium features five talks focused on risks from artificial intelligence and nuclear weapons.

Artificial Intelligence

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum’s paper, “On the promotion of safe and socially beneficial artificial intelligence” has been accepted for publication …

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