Global Catastrophic Risks

Overview


A global catastrophic risk is one with the potential to wreak death and destruction on a global scale. In human history, wars and plagues have done so on more than one occasion, and misguided ideologies and totalitarian regimes have darkened an entire era or a region. Advances in technology are adding dangers of a new kind. It could happen again.

In Global Catastrophic Risks 25 leading experts look at the gravest risks facing humanity in the 21st century, including asteroid ...

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Global Catastrophic Risks

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Overview


A global catastrophic risk is one with the potential to wreak death and destruction on a global scale. In human history, wars and plagues have done so on more than one occasion, and misguided ideologies and totalitarian regimes have darkened an entire era or a region. Advances in technology are adding dangers of a new kind. It could happen again.

In Global Catastrophic Risks 25 leading experts look at the gravest risks facing humanity in the 21st century, including asteroid impacts, gamma-ray bursts, Earth-based natural catastrophes, nuclear war, terrorism, global warming, biological weapons, totalitarianism, advanced nanotechnology, general artificial intelligence, and social collapse. The book also addresses over-arching issues - policy responses and methods for predicting and managing catastrophes.

This is invaluable reading for anyone interested in the big issues of our time; for students focusing on science, society, technology, and public policy; and for academics, policy-makers, and professionals working in these acutely important fields.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198570509
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 550
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nick Bostrom, PhD, is Director of the Future of Humanity Institute, in the James Martin 21st Century School, at Oxford University. He previously taught at Yale University in the Department of Philosophy and in the Yale Institute for Social and Policy Studies. Bostrom has served as an expert consultant for the European Commission in Brussels and for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington DC. He has advised the British Parliament, the European Parliament, and many other public bodies on issues relating to emerging technologies.

Milan M. Cirkovic, PhD, is a senior research associate of the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade, (Serbia) and a professor of Cosmology at Department of Physics, University of Novi Sad (Serbia). He received both his PhD in Physics and his MSc in Earth and Space Sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (USA) and his BSc in Theoretical Physics was received from the University of Belgrade.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Martin J. Rees Rees, Martin J.

1 Introduction Nick Bostrom Bostrom, Nick Milan M. Cirkovic Cirkovic, Milan M. 1

Pt. I Background 31

2 Long-term astrophysical processes Fred C. Adams Adams, Fred C. 33

3 Evolution theory and the future of humanity Christopher Wills Wills, Christopher 48

4 Millennial tendencies in responses to apocalyptic threats James J. Hughes Hughes, James J. 73

5 Cognitive biases potentially affecting judgement of global risks Eliezer Yudkowsky Yudkowsky, Eliezer 91

6 Observation selection effects and global catastrophic risks Milan M. Cirkovic Cirkovic, Milan M. 120

7 Systems-based risk analysis Yacov Y. Haimes Haimes, Yacov Y. 146

8 Catastrophes and insurance Peter Taylor Taylor, Peter 164

9 Public policy towards catastrophe Richard A. Posner Posner, Richard A. 184

Pt. II Risks from nature 203

10 Super-volcanism and other geophysical processes of catastrophic import Michael R. Rampino Rampino, Michael R. 205

11 Hazards from comets and asteroids William Napier Napier, William 222

12 Influence of Supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, solar flares, and cosmic rays on the terrestrial environment Arnon Dar Dar, Arnon 238

Pt. III Risks from unintended consequences 263

13 Climate change and global risk David Frame Frame, David Myles R. Allen Allen, Myles R. 265

14 Plagues and pandemics: past, present, and future Edwin Dennis Kilbourne Kilbourne, Edwin Dennis 287

15 Artificial Intelligence as a positive and negative factor in global risk Eliezer Yudkowsky Yudkowsky, Eliezer 308

16 Big troubles, imagined and real Frank Wilczek Wilczek, Frank 346

17 Catastrophe, social collapse, and human extinction Robin Hanson Hanson, Robin363

Pt. IV Risks from hostile acts 379

18 The continuing threat of nuclear war Joseph Cirincione Cirincione, Joseph 381

19 Catastrophic nuclear terrorism: a preventable peril Gary Ackerman Ackerman, Gary William C. Potter Potter, William C. 402

20 Biotechnology and biosecurity Ali Nouri Nouri, Ali Christopher F. Chyba Chyba, Christopher F. 450

21 Nanotechnology as global catastrophic risk Chris Phoenix Phoenix, Chris Mike Treder Treder, Mike 481

22 The totalitarian threat Bryan Caplan Caplan, Bryan 504

Authors' biographies 520

Index 531

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