The End of the World as We Know It

February 22nd, 2015
in econ_news

Econintersect:  A new report has been written which assesses the existential threats to human life on earth.  The reports assesses 12 low probability, high impact conditions that could cause a collapse of civilisation, defined as a drastic decrease in human population size and political/economic/social complexity, globally and for an extended time.  In Nassim Nicholas Taleb terminolgy, the report attempts to identify pontential Black Swan events for humanity.

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Follow up:

The authors of the report are Dennis Pamlin, The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and head of the Low Carbon Leaders for Transformative Solutions, a joint project of the United Nations and WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature); and Dr. Stuart Armstrong, a mathematician and computational biochemist at the Future for Humanity Institute.  Full author bios available here.

The authors summarize the report as follows:

The 12 global risks that threaten human civilization are:

Current risks

1. Extreme Climate Change
2. Nuclear War
3. Ecological Catastrophe
4. Global Pandemic
5. Global System Collapse

Exogenic risks

6. Major Asteroid Impact
7. Supervolcano

Emerging risks

8. Synthetic Biology
9. Nanotechnology
10. Artificial Intelligence
11. Uncertain Risks

Global policy risks

12. Future Bad Global Governance

There are ten areas that could help mitigate immediate threats while also contributing to a future global governance system capable of addressing global risks with a potential infinite impact:

1. Global challenges leadership networks

2. Better quality risk assessment for global challenges

3. Development of early warning systems

4. Encouraging visualisation of complex systems

5. Highlighting early movers

6. Including the whole probability distribution

7. Increasing the focus on the probability of extreme events

8. Encouraging appropriate language to describe extreme risks

9. Establishing a Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator to guide governance

10. Explore the possibility of establishing a Global Risk Organisation (GRO)

For the full report click on cover page below:


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