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The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity

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2020.08.02 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Toby Ord, The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity, Hachette, 2020, 480pp., $18.99 (pbk), ISBN 9780316484923. Reviewed by Theron Pummer, University of St Andrews In this timely book, Toby Ord argues that there is a one in six chance that humanity will suffer an existential catastrophe within the next 100 years, and that minimizing this risk should be a major global priority. We live in an age of heightened existential risk, due to such powerful technologies as nuclear weapons, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. Ord calls this age "the Precipice." It is an unsustainable time: humanity cannot carry on playing Russian roulette. Unless we soon achieve a much higher level of existential safety, we will destroy ourselves. The book offers an engaging and empirically-grounded synoptic view of humanity's past, present, and future, and of the risks threatening to cause that future to be far worse than it could be. Do... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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