[ExI] Existential Risks might be underestimated

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Fri May 29 14:40:45 UTC 2015

From: BillK <pharos at gmail.com> 
I'm not sure what we are expected to do about 'unknown unknowns'.
Except keep looking over our shoulder to see if something is sneaking up on us.

In most situations of ignorance new knowledge generally tends to be helpful. So obviously we should try to gather as much information as possible about what might threaten us - while being aware that some knowledge also needs to be managed carefully (anybody want to download the smallpox genome?) 

We can also follow strategies that make us more resilient as a civilization and a species like spreading out. Knowing we may be in worse circumstances than it looks means we should put more effort into these strategies and the information gathering than is apparently rational given past data.

Finally, if irreducible xrisk is higher than we thought, we may also focus a bit more on enjoying the here-and-now. This is not necessarily opposed to reducing xrisk and aiming at living forever: cherish every day as if it were your last - but plan to live forever that way. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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