Wiki Contributions



I think the broader lesson to be drawn from this is that the EA/LessWrong/x-risk nexus really needs to make an effort to seek out and listen to people who have been working on related things for decades; they have some really useful things to say!

There seems to be a pervasive tendency here to try to reinvent the wheel from first principles, or else exclusively rely on a handful of approaches that fit the community's highly quantitative/theoretical/high-modernist sensibilities---decision theory, game theory, prediction markets, judgemental forecasting, toy modelling, etc.---at the expense of all others.

Both of these approaches are rarely productive in my view.

(I am aware that this is not a new argument, but it bears making).

Some organisations are much scientifically omnivorous/open to multiple perspectives and approaches; I'm a big fan of both CSER and the GCRI, for instance.[1]

The Boring Apocalypses paper sketches out some ideas about existential exposures and vulnerabilities, but it's very much opening the conversation rather than offering the final word.

You've definitely identified a major research gap, one made shocking by the fact that a clear majority of disaster risk reduction work is focused on reducing vulnerabilities and exposures rather than hazards.

The point on variability of vulnerability and exposure is also well-taken. Vulnerability usually increases along all the lines you would expect: people living in poverty, marginalised minorities, etc. are typically much more at risk (c.f. the Pressure and Release model).

  1. ^

    Disclosure: I have worked at CSER as a Visiting Researcher.