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Global Catastrophic Risks

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  19 reviews
A global catastrophic risk is one with the potential to wreak death and destruction on a global scale. In human history, wars and plagues have done so on more than one occasion, and misguided ideologies and totalitarian regimes have darkened an entire era or a region. Advances in technology are adding dangers of a new kind. It could happen again.

In Global Catastrophic Risk
Hardcover, 554 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published July 3rd 2008)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Rhodes Hileman
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best collection of global risk analysis yet. Generally cogent detailed arguments on 21 separate risk types. For anyone concerned about the future, this volume is a must.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Wish I could put 2 and a half stars. This is a strange one as it is a series of articles about global catastrophe written in a very scholarly manner. There is no apocalypse porn to look at here folks, please move on.
Various articles all come to the same conclusion that we are not really in danger of being wiped out. We (humanity that is) could go backwards or even have a catastrophe or two but we will not become extinct as long as there are at least 100 of us in bonkable condition and not to dis
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
The exact opposite of light reading.

JDN 2456497 EDT 08:55.

A review of Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom and Milan M. Cirkovic

Light reading generally requires three things: Short, easy to read, and on a light-hearted subject. This book is none of those things: it consists of over 500 pages of scientific essays on the end of the world.
Setting the tone is the first chapter by astrophysicist Fred Adams about the inevitable death and decay of the universe. The basic message is that in 100
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: teoretske
I wish more people would read this book - it’s aim is to create a body of people that would have the basic tools for evaluating existential risks to humanity. The more experts would shift their attention to the study of keeping humanity safe, the more optimistic I could feel about the future.

However, I must add that it doesn't read lightly at all and sometimes feels like a flood of information. Hopefully, someone will write a more approachable version of this book someday.
Alexandru Tudorica
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-science
The joint conclusion of the collection of essays is that human civilization has a 19% risk of being extinct by 2100.

The opportunity cost brought by delayed action against existential threats is nearly incomprehensible for the human mind - each SECOND of delayed near space colonisation denies the future existence of 10^14 humans (as a lower, conservative bound). Check this out - as well as counterarguments to the exponential discounting here: http://wilso
Jeffrey Shrader
I was hoping for more discussion of correlated risks and the trade-offs faced by public policy when dealing with multi-dimensional, existential risks. The editors lay out exactly why this attention to multi-dimensionality is important:

[T]here are also pragmatic reasons for addressing global catastrophic risks as a single field. Attention is scarce. Mitigation is costly. To decide how to allocate effort and resources, we must make comparative judgements. If we treat risks singly, and never as pa
(This seems unlikely to be the book to answer my questions, but perhaps I'll give it a look-see just in case.) ...more
Vivienne DiFiore
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this book chopped and screwed. First through PDFs of chapters out of order. Then the rest of the book that I missed. It is a collection of works dealing with collapse. I will here irresponsible speak of the book as a whole maybe coming back to touch it up and deal with the piece individually, but maybe not.

What stands out to me is the attention paid to thinking through AI and viral collapse. And thinking through these ideas generally. I, at first, was overly annoyed by the clear "scifi" w
Hamish Seamus
Finally finished!

Very mixed: some of the chapters are super interesting (cosmology, totalitarianism), others are so dry as to be practically unreadable (insurance). Most are fairly boring with a few interesting bits here and there.
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what I was expecting here, but this reads like a white paper developed by some "think tank." Lots and lots of jargon, formulas and logarithms. Sure doesn't seem for the general public. ...more
Yates Buckley
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essential
A very good collection of pieces about global catastrophic risks from different authors and perspectives. Not all the writing is either consistent nor the same high quality but the text really does cover in breadth most of the issues in this area.
Antonio Vena
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alcuni articoli sono interessanti, altri molto interessanti e altri ancora per nulla.
Vale ogni centesimo speso soltanto per le bibliografie.
Ottimo per consultazione e ricerche.
Rajesh Patil
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
it was hard for me read between the lines..
Reed Caron
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Highlights for me were the chapters on social collapse, nuclear terrorism, and the totalitarian threat.
Chapters can be read independently of each other.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot more academic than I was expecting. Though in retrospect I don't really knw what I was expecting. Several of the essays were fascinating, and some were not. definitely recommended if the subject matter interests you. ...more
Laurent Franckx
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
The main problem with the book is simply that the contributions are of very unequal quality. Some are dry technical compilations of facts (or speculations) in a field, and completely inaccessible to a non-specialist. Others take a broader view, and ask deep questions. I particularly liked the chapters on artificial intelligence and totalitarianism. I had wished these had been longer.
Dec 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot to like here, and probably should be on the shelf of everyone who works on the risk governance of large-scale risks. However, the biggest contribution of this book is that its gap reveals where to go next in integrated risk governance: actual integration of methodology and domain-specific concerns in a common framework.

This book takes the same risk as "Unmaking the West: 'What-If?' Scenarios That Rewrite World History", namely picking a very broad subject, inviting as many people
Aldwin Susantio
The book discuss many global catastrophes in the past (like diseases, super-eruption, nuclear) and predict potential global catastrophes in the future (the end solar system, artificial super intelligence).

This book is written by many experts and cover technical and non-technical issues regarding global catastrophes. Maybe, that's the reason why this book is so scientific and not so communicative.

If you need a citation source for research paper or book, this is a great book for you. But if you
Jose Moa
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essay
A exaustive examen of all class of global risks ,to the humankind and the nature caused by the own humans or by the nature forces;the list is well analiced and exaustive:economical, tecnological ,ambiental ,nuclear war ,by diseases ,impact with asteroides or comets,black holes supernovae,solar flares,artificial inteligence,nanotecnology,biotecnology ,nuclear terrorism ,totalitarism ,social colapse,and so on risks;it examines short and long term risks
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Jan 03, 2015
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Nick Bostrom is Professor at Oxford University, where he is the founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute. He also directs the Strategic Artificial Intelligence Research Center. He is the author of some 200 publications, including Anthropic Bias (Routledge, 2002), Global Catastrophic Risks (ed., OUP, 2008), Human Enhancement (ed., OUP, 2009), and Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Stra ...more

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