Existential Risk: Diplomacy and Governance

(Global Priorities Project, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford 2017)


To transition successfully to SE3LLC, the existential risks described in this publication must be eliminated. No new technology is needed to make the transition. A coordinated worldwide plan and effort is required. The transition will only be better with the ongoing development of sustainable evolutionary and revolutionary technologies.

Following  is a more comprehensive and organized list of existential risks than is presented in this reference. A more comprehensive set of categories is used for Items 1-7; some of the risks in this publication are sub-categories of 1-7. Item 8 is not identified in this reference, but is equally important. The SE3LLC expanded list of existential risks is:

  1. Weapons of mass destruction & nuclear waste:
    1. Nuclear proliferation
    2.  Nuclear pollution: radioactive waste; thermal waste at levels much greater than the Fossils 
    3. Nuclear weapons
    4. Other weapons
  2. Destruction of the biosphere including:
    1. Climate change: extreme human induced warming & other life changing events
    2. Chemical pollution of the atmosphere, land, waterways (aquifers, ice, lakes, oceans, rivers)
    3. Collapse of ecosystems
    4. Loss of biodiversity
    5. Decline of natural resources, particularly water
  3. Pandemics:
    1. Natural
    2. Genetically engineered
    3. New & untreatable diseases
    4. Animal & biomass diseases
  4. Powerful uncontrolled new technologies:
    1. Non-beneficial AI, superintelligence
    2. Biotech
    3. Geoengineering
    4. Nuclear proliferation
  5. Global totalitarianism:
    1. The rich – associations, corporations, industries, people:
      1. Failure to pay their fair share of taxes
      2. Corporate socialism
      3. Non-democratic ownership of the lawmaking machinery
      4. Non-democratic lobbies for complex, intractable, self-serving laws
    2. Greed
    3. False prophets of false profits; false profits of false prophets
    4. Pervasive disrespect for ethics in all human activities:
      1. Corporations: Business, Industry, Stock Markets…
      2. The Courts
      3. The Media
      4. Politics, government…
      5. Individuals, particularly the rich
    5. Pervasive disrespect for science & the scientific method, for truth & the truth method in all human activities:
      1. Pervasive use of:
        1. Lies
        2. Misinformation 
        3. Logical fallacies
        4. Cognitive biases  
    6. Failure to acknowledge & prevent the existential risks
    7. Lack of critical thinking; replaced by mindless, unethical, even criminal tribalism
  6. Natural Processes:
    1. Asteroids hitting the Earth
    2. Solar flares & storms
    3. Supervolcanos
  7. Unknown unknowns
  8. Humanity’s decline:
    1. Population growth beyond Earth’s carrying capacity
    2. Rising food insecurity, failing nutritional quality including depleted if not diseased agriculture,  junk food pandemic…
    3. Drug pandemics with dependencies that include: alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, opioids, sedatives, sugar, tobacco…
    4. Symptoms of a failure to implement proactive healthcare that includes fitness, healthy diets, mental health, acceptable living & working conditions…:
      1. Poverty pandemic
      2. Homeless pandemic
      3. Diabetes pandemic
      4. Obesity pandemic
      5. Mental illness pandemic
      6. Severely depleted, if not dysfunctional medicare systems…