Virtual EAG 2020: The Precipice—Existential risk and the future of humanity (Toby Ord)

If all goes well, human history is just beginning. Humanity could survive for billions of years, reaching heights of flourishing unimaginable today. But this vast future is at risk. For we have gained the power to destroy ourselves, and our entire potential, forever, without the wisdom to ensure we don’t. Toby will explain what this entails, with emphasis on the perspective of humanity — a major theme of his new book, The Precipice (

Toby Ord is a philosopher at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. His work focuses on the big picture questions facing humanity: What are the most important issues of our time? How can we best address them?

Toby’s earlier work explored the ethics of global health and global poverty. This led him to create an international society called Giving What We Can, whose members have pledged over $1.4 billion to highly effective charities. He also co-founded the wider effective altruism movement, encouraging thousands of people to use reason and evidence to help others as much as possible.

His current research is on avoiding the threat of human extinction and thus safeguarding a positive future for humanity, which he considers to be among the most pressing and neglected issues we face. He addresses this in his new book, The Precipice.

To read a free chapter of The Precipice, sign up for Toby’s newsletter at the bottom of this page:

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