What are the odds of the end of humanity? There’s no real way to know.
Researchers simulated thousands of scenarios of an ancient pathogen being released into modern ecosystems. In the worst cases, up to one-third of host species were destroyed.
Is it possible to ‘align’ AI systems to human interest? A new plan to build an AI system to solve this problem highlights the limits of the idea.
AI isn’t likely to enslave humanity, but it could take over many aspects of our lives.
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From open letters to congressional testimony, some AI leaders have stoked fears that the technology is a direct threat to humanity. The reality is less dramatic but perhaps more insidious.
A giant asteroid struck Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
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NASA has only mapped 40% of the potentially dangerous asteroids that could crash into Earth. New projects will boost that number, and upcoming missions will test tech that could prevent collisions.
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We need long-term solutions, but the idea has been hijacked by a worldview that downplays climate risks.
Could it happen?
There’s no need to panic about the asteroids heading ‘close’ to Earth in January.
Niko Tavernise / Netflix
Will Don’t Look Up wake people up? Here’s what the research on climate communication says.
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When people think about how AI might ‘go wrong’, most probably picture malevolent computers trying to cause harm. But what if we should be more worried about them seeking pleasure?
We unthinkingly defend a consumerist worldview when confronted with evidence of environmental threats such as climate change.
Hearing about climate change prompts people to buy more stuff, which increases their environmental footprint. Rituals that inspire gratitude for nature can help reduce the desire to over-consume.
Future of the planet is in our hands.
The US mustn’t make the mistake of tackling these threats separately – or of trying to take a unilateral approach.
Imagine an advanced artificial intelligence took over from Santa. What could go wrong?
Other existential risks include the decline of natural resources (particularly water), human population growth beyond the Earth’s carrying capacity, and nuclear weapons.
An obscure Russian prince lays claim to being the first person to announce that humanity may destroy itself through its own technological advancement.
Realising the silence of outer space was what made us appreciate our precarious position down on this pale blue dot – so beginning our obsession with extinction.
Growing evidence suggests that the extinction of the dinosaurs involved profound, complex and interconnected changes to the global systems that support life. Much like we are facing today.
Humans have ignored the signs.
The Earth’s climate has always changed. All species eventually become extinct. But a new study has brought into sharp relief the fact that humans have, in the context of geological timescales, produced…
Taking over one neuron at a time.
Biological brains are unlikely to be the final stage of intelligence. Machines already have superhuman strength, speed and stamina – and one day they will have superhuman intelligence. The only reasons…
Other ways humanity could end are more subtle.
United States Department of Energy
In the daily hubbub of current “crises” facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come. Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now. I…
The future is uncertain, and that’s a problem.
The Conversation organised a public question-and-answer session on Reddit in which Anders Sandberg and Andrew Snyder-Beattie, researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, explored…