July Newsletter: Summer Talks and Presentations

Integrated Assessment

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum gave a talk on “Integrated Assessment of Global Catastrophic Risk and Artificial Intelligence” at the Cambridge University Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) on June 28. Dr. Baum will also participate in a Tech2025 workshop on future AI risk on July 11 in New York City.

GCRI Director of Research Tony Barrett gave a talk on integrated assessment, nuclear war, AI, and risk reduction opportunities at an Effective Altruism DC event on global catastrophic risks on June 17.

Artificial Intelligence

GCRI Associate …

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June Newsletter: Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

Dear friends,

This past May, a draft treaty to ban nuclear weapons was released at the United Nations. Nuclear weapons are a major global catastrophic risk, one that GCRI has done extensive work on. At first glance, the nuclear ban treaty would seem like something to wholeheartedly support. However, upon closer inspection, its merits are ambiguous.

The treaty is not expected to eliminate nuclear weapons because the nuclear-armed countries won’t sign it. Instead, it seeks to strengthen the norm against nuclear weapons and increase pressure for disarmament. …

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May Newsletter: The Value of GCR Research

Dear friends,

People often ask me why we set GCRI up as a think tank instead of something for more direct action at reducing the risk. The reason is that when it comes to the global catastrophic risks, a little bit of well-designed research goes a long way. It helps us make better decisions about how to reduce the risks.

For example, last week I attended a political science workshop at Yale University on how to cost-effectively spend $10 billion to reduce the probability of war between …

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Call for Papers: Informatica Special Issue on Superintelligence

GCRI associate Roman Yampolskiy and junior associate Matthijs Maas are—along with Ryan Carey and Nell Watson—guest-editing an upcoming Informatica special issue on superintelligence. The special issue will approach the topic of superintelligence in as multidisciplinary and visionary a manner as possible.

They are looking for original research, critical studies, and review articles on topics related to superintelligence, in particular including

– Artificial Superintelligence
– Artificial General Intelligence
– Biological Superintelligence
– Brain-computer Interfaces
– Whole Brain Emulation
– Genetic Engineering
– Cognitive Enhancement
– Collective Superintelligence
– Neural Lace-Mediated Empathy
– Technological Singularity
– Intelligence Explosion
– Definition …

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April Newsletter

Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

GCRI executive director Seth Baum has joined the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) as a research affiliate. The affiliation is in recognition of the contribution Baum has made to CSER.

Colloquium on Catastrophic and Existential Threats

GCRI executive director Seth Baum gave a talk titled “Integrated Assessment of Global Catastrophic Risk” and GCRI director of research Tony Barrett gave a talk titled “Towards Integrated, Comprehensive Assessment of Global Catastrophic Risks to Inform Risk Reduction” at the Garrick Institute …

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Wired UK: Apocalypse, Now?

In its March cover feature on the end of the world, Wired UK wrote about the work the GCRI does—along with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), and the Future of Life Institute (FLI)—to mitigate catastrophic risk. In an article on the 10 biggest threats facing civilization, Wired UK discusses the research GCRI does on the risk that an inadvertent nuclear war could cause a nuclear winter and on systemic risk from climate …

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February Newsletter: Outlook For 2017—GCRI & US Politics

Dear friends,

One year ago, I described GCRI’s success with academic and popular publishing and speaking, and noted that this productivity could not be sustained on the small budget we had. Over the past year, we have focused more on fundraising, though I regret with only limited success. It’s enough to keep our doors open, but not enough to perform at high capacity.

But enough about us. What’s more important is that, over the past year, the world has changed. The United States has elected a wholly unusual …

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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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