January Newsletter: Superintelligence & Hawaii False Alarm

Dear friends,

This month marks the release of Superintelligence, a special issue of the journal Informatica co-edited by GCRI’s Matthijs Maas and Roman Yampolskiy along with Ryan Carey and Nell Watson. It contains an interesting mix of papers on AI risk. One of the papers is “Modeling and Interpreting Expert Disagreement About Artificial Superintelligence”, co-authored by Yampolskiy, Tony Barrett, and myself. This paper applies our ASI-PATH risk model to an ongoing debate between two leading AI risk experts, Nick Bostrom and Ben Goertzel. It shows how risk analysis can capture …

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December Newsletter: Year in Review

Dear friends,

It has been another productive year for GCRI. Though we have a limited budget, we’ve made major contributions to global catastrophic risk research. Here are some highlights:

* GCRI hosted its largest-ever series of symposia on global catastrophic risk at the 2017 Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) conference, prompting SRA to encourage us to lead the formation of an official global catastrophic risk group within SRA.

* GCRI affiliates presented at numerous other events throughout the year, including dedicated catastrophic risk events at UCLA and Gothenburg.

* …

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October Newsletter: How To Reduce Risk

Dear friends,

As we speak, a group of researchers is meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden on the theme of existential risk. I joined it earlier in September. My commendations to Olle Häggström and Anders Sandberg for hosting an excellent event.

My talk in Gothenburg focused on how to find the best opportunities to reduce risk. The best opportunities are often a few steps removed from academic risk and policy analysis. For example, there is a large research literature on climate change policy, much of which factors in catastrophic risk. However, the …

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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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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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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


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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