If all goes well, human history is just beginning. For millennia, we have been slowly progressing towards healthier, longer and more affluent lives. But less than a century ago, something changed. We started to invent ways to self-destruct. First with the familiar man-made threats of climate change and nuclear war, and now with the potentially far greater emerging risks from engineered pandemics and advanced artificial intelligence.
We urgently need to pull together to prevent such a catastrophe, argues the philosopher Toby Ord in his new book, The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity. Ord, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, maps out concrete steps we can take to prevent the collapse of our civilisation or total extinction. His message could not come at a more resonant time.
Ord is co-founder of the Effective Altruism movement, which focuses on how we can improve life for the worst off today. But, as he argued, the risks to future generations are equally pressing.
‘Ord’s analysis of the science is exemplary . . . Thrillingly written.’ – Bryan Appleyeard, The Sunday Times
‘The Precipice is a powerful book, written with a philosopher’s eye . . . Ord’s love for humanity and hope for its future is infectious.’ – The Spectator
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