Episode 61, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube
Huw Price is an author, was the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, and is the co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.
During our conversation, Huw talks about meeting Jaan Tallinn of Skype, learning about lesser-known existential risks of artificial intelligence and catastrophic new biological threats, the founding of the Centre in 2012, what an existential threat is, a near-existential event in 1962, and what an average citizen can do to mitigate the probability of an extinction event.
There is no more important subject than the prevention our own annihilation and the continuation of the human story. It is harrowing to learn how close we have already come to ending human existence on Earth, and it behooves all of us to learn a bit about what our x-risks are and align our priorities, knowledge, wisdom, and resources to lessen its likelihood.
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(02:47) Getting involved in x-risk
(13:27) What is existential risk?
(19:10) What would an existential event look like?
(23:23) The x-risk of AI
(26:40) The x-risk of biological threats
(30:30) "The Precipice"
(31:28) How Vasili Arkhipov likely saved humanity
(37:28) The Future of Life Institute
(40:35) The x-risk of nuclear weapons
(44:12) The risks of climate change
(50:55) 1 in 6 chance of human extinction this century
(53:35) Is it unethical to have children?
(1:00:28) Actions people can make to mitigate x-risk
(1:02:14) Do x-risk issues cause Huw depression?
(1:04:13) Should people become "preppers"?
(1:06:40) Huw's advice to deal with x-risks
(1:10:25) Leaders in the x-risk community
(1:12:30) Advice for mindset and attitude
(1:15:20) Sources of hope and optimism