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Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority

Author: Nick Bostrom
Organisation: Oxford University
Publish Date: 2013
Country: Global
Sector: Social Development
Method: Creative thinking
Theme: Safety Nets
Type: Article
Language: English
Tags: Global risks, Existence, Human race, Human society, Prevention measures, Mitigation strategies, Policies

Existential risks are those that threaten the entire future of humanity. Many theories of value imply that even relatively small reductions in net existential risk have enormous expected value. Despite their importance, issues surrounding human-extinction risks and related hazards remain poorly understood. In this article, I clarify the concept of existential risk and develop an improved classification scheme. I discuss the relation between existential risks and basic issues in axiology, and show how existential risk reduction (via the maxipok rule) can serve as a strongly action-guiding principle for utilitarian concerns. I also show how the notion of existential risk suggests a new way of thinking about the ideal of sustainability.
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