X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction

X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction

by Thomas Moynihan


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From global pandemics to prophecies of evil Al superintelligences to the impending perils of genome editing, our species is increasingly concerned with the prospect of its own extinction. With humanity's future on this planet seeming more insecure by the day, the twenty-first century has seen 'existential risk' become the object of a growing field of serious scientific inquiry. But this preoccupation is not exclusive to the post-atomic age of global warming and synthetic biology. Our growing concern with human extinction itself has a history-one that is important for our understanding of what it means to be human in the first place. Retracting this untold story. X-Risk revisits the pioneers who first contemplated the possibility of human extinction, and stages the historical drama of its momentous discovery.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781913029845
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 11/03/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 292,450
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Thomas Moynihan focuses on intellectual history and existential risk, aiming to supply a historically reflective dimension to the emerging field of "future studies.”

Table of Contents

X-Risk: A Timeline 1

0 Introduction: Why a History of the Future? 7

1 A Very Rational End of the World 13

2 Cosmic Silences: Astrobiology 45

3 Earth Systems: Geoscience 127

4 Future Trajectories: Forecasting 201

5 Internal Contradictions: Omnicide 257

6 Physical Salvation: Vocation 341

Acknowledgements 425

Bibliography 427

Index of Names 455

Index of Subjects 461

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