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Existential Risk Prevention as a Global Priority Existential Risk Prevention as a Global Priority
1. The maxipok rule 1.1. Existential risk and uncertainty An existential risk is one that threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent and drastic destruction of its potential for desirable future development (Bostrom 2002).

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We might also consider the issue from a less theoretical standpoint and try to form an evaluation instead by considering analogous cases about which we have definite moral intuitions. Agents that exist as computational processes in distributed computational hardware have potentially unlimited life spans. In scenarios of this kind, humanity reaches technological maturity with a good (in the sense of being not dismally and irremediably flawed) initial setup, yet subsequent developments nonetheless lead to the permanent ruination of our prospects.

Quantities that depend on probability, such as the seriousness of a risk, can vary over time as new information becomes available. That is, instead of seeking to approximate a sustainable the present human condition is likewise a transitional state. To avoid flawed realization, it is more important to focus on maximizing long-term efficiency than on maximizing the initial output of value in the period immediately following technological maturation.

Since an existential catastrophe would either put an end to the project of the future of humanity or drastically curtail its scope for development, we would seem to have a strong we also note that an existential catastrophe would entail the frustration of many strong preferences, suggesting that from a preference-satisfactionist perspective it would be a bad thing. Note, however, that it is on no account a conceptual truth that existential catastrophes are bad or that reducing existential risk is right. For example, if all mass-energy in the accessible universe is saved until the cosmic microwave background temperature ceases to decline (due to the constant horizon temperature of 10 thermodynamically irreversible computations (krauss and starkman 2000).

Where normative issues are involved, these issues may be contentious. Many theories of value imply that even relatively small reductions in net existential risk have enormous expected value. Unrestricted altruism is not so common that we can afford to fritter it away on a plethora of feel-good projects of suboptimal efficacy.

Holding probability constant, risks become more serious as we move toward the upper-right region of figure 2. Robert oppenheimer, the scientific leader of the manhattan project, ordered a study ahead of the trinity test to determine whether a nuclear detonation would cause a self-propagating chain of nuclear reactions in earths atmosphere. One might expect that even if global civilization were to undergo a complete collapse, perhaps following a global thermonuclear war, it would eventually be rebuilt.

Further, it assumes (along with the cosmological estimates mentioned in the previous footnote) that the human brain has a processing power of 10 operations per second and that stars on average last 5 billion years. It might be impossible to reintegrate humanity after such a splintering occurred, and the process of attaining technological maturity might have presented the last and best chance for humanity to form a singleton (bostrom 2006). The concept of existential risk can thus help the morally or altruistically motivated to identify actions that have the highest expected value. Note that maxipok differs from the popular maximin principle (choose the action that has the best worst-case outcome). Most of the all-things-considered risk may lie in the gray area rather than in the black stripe.


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Risk compensation is a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected.

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Risk Research Paper The modern human condition represents a narrow range of the space of possibilities. Instead, let us consider a simplified version of one important class of normative theories. In other words, Moravec 19) it would also be able to modify and enhance human biology say. Probability can be understood in different senses. It could remain in its current position for a long time, although it would eventually be destroyed by wind and weather. The area marked x in figure 2 represents existential risks. Systems, processes, and risks are studied today from a global perspective by many scholars environmental scientists, economists, epidemiologists, demographers, and others. It matters less whether there is a brief delay before that happens and a delay of even several million years is brief in this context (bostrom 2003). Abstract existential risks are those that threaten the entire future of humanity. It turns out that the ultimate potential for earth-originating intelligent life is literally astronomical. That might, however, be a beneficial capability only if we had first attained sufficient wisdom not to exercise it erroneously. One can refer to this more precisely as early or premature human extinction. Absent global coordination, various processes might degrade humanitys long-term potential.
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    Gpc, a baryonic matter density of 4. It is not part of the of existential catastrophe that it is all-things-considered bad, although that will probably be a reasonable supposition in most cases. The concept of existential risk can thus help the morally or altruistically motivated to identify actions that have the highest expected value. The probability of subsequent ruination might be low and is perhaps extremely low conditional on getting the setup right. The scope insensitivity of our moral sentiments is likely to be especially pronounced when very large numbers are involved substantially larger numbers, such as 500 million deaths, and especially qualitatively different scenarios such as the extinction of the entire human species, seem to trigger a different mode of thinkingenter into a separate magisterium.

    The probability of remaining on a recurring-collapse trajectory diminishes with the number of cycles postulated. These considerations suggest that the loss in expected value resulting from an existential catastrophe is so enormous that the objective of reducing existential risks should be a dominant consideration whenever we act out of an impersonal concern for humankind as a whole. One potentially significant qualification is that the time to reach the maximum attainable resource base could be shorter if intelligent opposition (such as from extraterrestrial civilizations) emerges that hinders our cosmic expansion. We should emphasize the need for continued philosophical deliberation and fostering of conditions that would help us find the truth about central normative issues eventually as well as the need to avoid irrevocable mistakes in the meantime. Schroder k-p, smith r 2008, distant future of the sun and earth revisited, , viewed , httpwww.

    By dismally we mean that it enables the realization of but a small part of the value that could otherwise have been realized. These reflections on moral uncertainty suggest an alternative, complementary way of looking at existential risk they also suggest a new way of thinking about the ideal of sustainability. As noted, some mitigation projects can be undertaken unilaterally, and one may expect more such projects as the world becomes richer. A third reason is that a technologically mature civilization would be superintelligent (or have access to the advice of superintelligent artificial entities) and thus better able to foresee danger and devise plans to minimize existential risk. Thus, a sufficiently powerful superintelligent-machine civilization that could rapidly invent and implement these and other relevant technologies would already count as technologically mature. To these we can add the difficulty of achieving required levels of global cooperation. With mature technology, most factors of production are interchangeable and ultimately reducible to basic physical resources, but the amount of free energy available to a civilization imposes hard limits on what it can produce. The amount of life available to such agents is proportional to the amount of physical resources they control. There is a long-term historic trend toward increasing scope of political integration from hunter-gatherer bands to chiefdoms, city states, nation states, and now multinational organizations, regional alliances, various international governance structures, and other aspects of globalization (wright 1999). All scenarios involving the premature extinction of humanity will be counted as existential catastrophes, even though some such scenarios may, according to some theories of value, be relatively benign.

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    The first clear-cut scientific existential risk might have arisen with the development of the atomic bomb. Although omnicide would at least be impartial, by contrast to genocide which is often racist or nationalist. Since colonization speed is bounded by the speed of light, a civilization attaining technological maturity will start with a modest endowment of physical resources (a single planet and perhaps some nearby parts of its solar system), and it will take a very long time billions of years before a civilization starting could reach even 1 of its maximum attainable resource base. This is the category of risks that have (at least) crushing severity and (at least) pan-generational scope Buy now Risk Research Paper

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    For instance, a technologically mature civilization could (presumably) engage in large-scale space colonization through the use of automated self-replicating von neumann probes. It is much more important to get the setup right, in the sense of putting humanity on a track that will eventually garner most of the attainable cosmic resources and put them to near-optimal use. But the fact that the probability of some risk is difficult to quantify does not imply that the risk is negligible. As noted, preventing states with such capabilities from becoming oppressive will present its own set of challenges. That is to say, we have reason to prefer that x not occur and perhaps reason to take action to prevent x Risk Research Paper Buy now

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    An unrecovered collapse scenario might postulate that some critical resource for recovery is permanently destroyed, or that the human gene pool irreversibly degenerates, or perhaps that some discovery is made that enables tiny groups to cause such immense destruction that they can bring down civilization and that the knowledge of this discovery cannot be eradicated. Whereas the first two classes of existential risk (human extinction and permanent stagnation) are specified by purely descriptive criteria, the second two (flawed realization and subsequent ruination) are defined normatively. Although it is often difficult to assess the probability of existential risks, there are many reasons to suppose that the total such risk confronting humanity over the next few centuries is significant Buy Risk Research Paper at a discount

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    Unrestricted altruism is not so common that we can afford to fritter it away on a plethora of feel-good projects of suboptimal efficacy. The uncertainty and error-proneness of our first-order assessments of risk is itself something we must factor into our all-things-considered probability assignments. Estimates of 10-20 total existential risk in this century are fairly typical among those who have examined the issue, though inevitably such estimates rely heavily on subjective judgment. Many theories of value imply that even relatively small reductions in net existential risk have enormous expected value. Indeed, the permanent foreclosure of any possibility of this kind of transformative change of human biological nature may itself constitute an existential catastrophe Buy Online Risk Research Paper

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    Abstract existential risks are those that threaten the entire future of humanity. Another reason is that once technological maturity is safely reached, there are fewer potentially dangerous technologies left to be discovered. One way in which ephemeral realization could result is if there are fractures in the initial state of technological maturity that are bound to lead to a splintering of humanity into competing factions. Since colonization speed is bounded by the speed of light, a civilization attaining technological maturity will start with a modest endowment of physical resources (a single planet and perhaps some nearby parts of its solar system), and it will take a very long time billions of years before a civilization starting could reach even 1 of its maximum attainable resource base Buy Risk Research Paper Online at a discount

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    Absent global coordination, various processes might degrade humanitys long-term potential. This might be appropriate when ones duty is to give decision support to a particular decision maker. Although we are not currently doing much to help them, we have the opportunity to do so in the future. General improvements of this kind might come from many sources, including developments in educational techniques and online collaboration tools, institutional innovations such as prediction markets, advances in science and philosophy, spread of rationality culture, and biological cognitive enhancement. Future of humanity institute technical report, 2008-1, oxford, viewed future of humanity institute technical report, 2008-3, oxford, viewed , httpwww Risk Research Paper For Sale

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    Robert oppenheimer, the scientific leader of the manhattan project, ordered a study ahead of the trinity test to determine whether a nuclear detonation would cause a self-propagating chain of nuclear reactions in earths atmosphere. Just as the shape of my whole life, and its connection with my present and past, have an interest that goes beyond that of any isolated experience, so too the shape of human history over an extended period of the future, and its connection with the human present and past, have an interest that goes beyond that of the (total or average) quality of life of a population- at-a-time, considered in isolation from how it got that way. Continuity is as important to our commitment to the project of the future of humanity as it is to our commitment to the projects of our own personal futures For Sale Risk Research Paper

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    As our powers expand, so will the scale of their potential consequences intended and unintended, positive and negative. In particular, most of the biggest existential risks seem to be linked to potential future technological breakthroughs that may radically expand our ability to manipulate the external world or our own biology. It is not a principle of absolute validity, since there clearly are moral ends other than the prevention of existential catastrophe. One might think we could get a grip on how bad an existential catastrophe would be by considering some of the worst historical disasters we can think of such as the two world wars, the spanish flu pandemic, or the holocaust and then imagining something just a bit worse Sale Risk Research Paper

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