New Paper: Towards an Integrated Assessment of Global Catastrophic Risk

GCRI Executive Director Seth Baum and GCRI Director of Research Tony Barrett have a new paper related to GCRI’s Integrated Assessment Project titled “Towards an Integrated Assessment of Global Catastrophic Risk” forthcoming in B.J. Garrick’s edited volume, Catastrophic and Existential Risk: Proceedings of the First Colloquium.


Integrated assessment is an analysis of a topic that integrates multiple lines of research. Integrated assessments are thus inherently interdisciplinary. They are generally oriented toward practical problems, often in the context of public policy, and frequently concern topics in science and technology. …

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Summer Newsletter: New Publications

Dear friends,

There have been a number of interesting new publications coming out of the GCR research community recently, both from GCRI and elsewhere. They cover a range of topics, from environmental risks to artificial intelligence to refuges for protecting against unknown threats. For your interest, I’m putting a summary of the publications down at the bottom of the newsletter. These are good times for GCR research, and they are about to get better next year when the Futures special issue comes out. That is, assuming …

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New Review Of AI Risk Book Our Final Invention

Quick fyi – I have a review of Our Final Invention by James Barrat. The review is titled Our Final Invention: Is AI the Defining Issue for Humanity? and has been published at Scientific American Blogs. There is also a reprint at Yahoo News. It’s a very readable book, a good introduction to AI risk for people new to the topic, but also something that experts will also learn something from.

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New Article On Syria And Nuclear War

Quick FYI – I have a new article out at Huffington Post: Taming the Gigaton Gorilla: Using Syria Diplomacy to Help Avoid U.S.-Russia Nuclear War. The article discusses the current diplomatic situation in Syria in terms of global catastrophic risk, in particular US-Russia nuclear war. The basic ideas are (1) the Syria situation should be approached mainly in terms of global catastrophic risk, instead of in terms of Syria itself, and (2) opportunities may exist for diplomacy regarding Syria to improve US-Russia relations so as …

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New Magazine Article ‘Making The Universe A Better Place’

One more quick announcement. I have a short magazine article Making The Universe A Better Place in the new issue of Current Exchange/Technophilic Magazine. (The link is for the full issue. There’s no direct link to my article yet.) The article presents an overview of the ethics of global catastrophic risk as it relates to astrobiology. Technophilic is a magazine for science and engineering students, and so the article tells my personal story of how I transitioned from an engineering grad student to someone active …

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New Paper: Ethics & Dual-Use Bioengineering

GCRI has a new academic paper out. The ethics of global catastrophic risk from dual-use bioengineering, by Seth Baum and Grant Wilson, has been accepted for publication in Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine. The paper was written for a talk of the same title presented at the 7th Annual International Conference on Ethical Issues In Biomedical Engineering.

The paper discusses ethics and law issues raised by dual-use bioengineering. Dual-use technologies are technologies with both beneficial and harmful applications. Bioengineered technologies can be both very beneficial …

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New Paper: Global Catastrophe Adaptation and Recovery

GCRI has a new academic paper out. Adaptation to and Recovery from Global Catastrophe, by Tim Maher and Seth Baum, has been accepted for publication in Sustainability. (Click here for a nontechnical summary.) This paper analyzes the possibility that survivors may adapt to post-catastrophe conditions, recover civilization, and perhaps even go on to colonize space. The paper considers both the importance of adaptation/recovery and how adaptation/recovery may proceed.

Adaptation and recovery from global catastrophe could be a crucial feature in the fate of human civilization in …

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New IEET Article On International Treaties For Emerging Technologies

Quick FYI – Grant Wilson and I have a new article up at IEET: How to create an international treaty for emerging technologies. The article discusses several options for the institutions that can support such a treaty, mainly institutions within the United Nations. The article was produced for our crowdfunding campaign Preventing Technological Disaster Through International Treaties. We had hoped to raise $8000 and write a full academic journal article, but we only raised $300, so we wrote this instead. I still think it provides …

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New Paper: Inadvertent Nuclear War

GCRI has another new academic paper out. Analyzing and reducing the risks of inadvertent nuclear war between the United States and Russia, by Tony Barrett, Seth Baum, and Kelly Hostetler, has been accepted for publication in Science and Global Security.

The paper discusses the possibility of US-Russia nuclear war occurring when one country mistakenly concludes that a false alarm is real and launches nuclear weapons in what it believes is a counterattack. Inadvertent US-Russia nuclear war has come close to happening before, even since the end …

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New Paper: Geoengineering Double Catastrophe

GCRI has a new academic paper out. Double catastrophe: Intermittent stratospheric geoengineering induced by societal collapse, by Seth Baum, Timothy Maher, and Jacob Haqq-Misra, has been accepted for publication in Environment, Systems and Decisions.

The paper discusses a global catastrophe scenario involving climate change, geoengineering, and a separate catastrophe. In the scenario, stratospheric geoengineering is conducted to cool the warming temperatures associated with climate change. Then, an initial catastrophe separate from climate change prevents humanity from continuing the geoengineering, causing a rapid temperature increase. The initial …

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