Assessing major risks: what should we worry about? Practical suggestions for futurists. With Anders Sandberg.
About this talk:
Much of future studies is often treated as entertainment by the public, but if there is one thing people ask futurists about in a serious way, it is risks - including risks of catastrophic disasters. Having foresight against potential threats matters.
As well as the more 'obvious' global catastrophic risks like nuclear war, nuclear terrorism, global pandemics, and runaway climate change, we may also worry about risks from meteor and comet impacts, gamma ray bursts, bioterrorism, nanoscale manufacturing, and super-AI. For an even longer list, see Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_risk).
But how do we assess large risks where there is little past evidence, or where we think the rules may change due to new technology, climate or culture? How do we factor in different kinds of uncertainty, and how do we present them to the public? What about biases that distort the message?
This talk will look at different ways of assessing risks, the many ways they are uncertain, and give some practical tips about how to do it slightly better where it matters.
About Anders Sandberg:
Dr Anders Sandberg (http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/our_staff/research/anders_sandberg) is a James Martin research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University (http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/).
As a part of the Oxford Martin School he is involved in interdisciplinary research on cognitive enhancement, neurotechnology, global catastrophic risks, emerging technologies and applied rationality.
Anders has been writing about and debating transhumanism, future studies, neuroethics and related questions for a long time. He is also an associate of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, as well as co-founder of the Swedish think tank Eudoxa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudoxa).
2pm-4pm, Saturday 27th April
Venue: Room 532, Birkbeck College (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/maps), Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.
Room 532 is on the 5th floor in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.
Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.
The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms (http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub-food/marlborough-arms-bloomsbury/pid-C7440), 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ
Optional pre-meeting rendezvous - please feel free to join a small number of regular London Futurist attendees at the Marlborough Arms any time from 12.30pm onwards, for general chat over a light lunch and/or drinks. To find us, look out for a table with a futurist book on it.
Covering meeting costs:
A small fee is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room costs. Any excess money collected will be split between speaker expenses and defrayment of expenses incurred in organising previous meetups.
The fee is £5 if paid in advance, at the time of RSVPing. (This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 3 days before the meetup.)
Alternatively, payment can be made in cash at the door on the day - in this case, the fee is £10. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.)