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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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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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

Conferences

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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December Newsletter: The US Election & Global Catastrophic Risk

Dear friends,

The recent US election offers a vivid reminder of how large and seemingly unlikely events can and do sometimes occur. Just as we cannot assume that elections will continue to be won by normal politicians, we also cannot assume that humanity will continue to avoid global catastrophe.

The outcome of this election has many implications for global catastrophic risk, which I outline in a new article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. To my eyes, the election increases the importance of nuclear weapons risk …

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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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DHS Emerging Technologies Project

I am writing to announce a new GCRI project on risks from emerging technologies. The project is sponsored by the United States Department of Homeland Security under its Science & Technology Directorate Centers of Excellence, through the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), which is based at the University of Southern California.

The project’s Principal Investigator is GCRI Director of Research Tony Barrett. Contributions are also coming from our colleague Jun Zhuang, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at SUNY-Buffalo, and …

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Meet The Team Tuesdays: Tony Barrett

This post is part of a weekly series introducing GCRI’s members.

Tony and I met at the 2010 Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting. I was co-chair with Vanessa Schweizer of two sessions on global catastrophic risk. Vanessa and Tony had attended Carnegie Mellon’s Engineering & Public Policy PhD program together. Tony and I both wanted to focus our careers on GCR, and started thinking about the most effective ways of doing this. We benchmarked many other organizations and concluded that there was a need for …

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