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Safeguarding Humanity: Philosopher Toby Ord on Fending Off Dystopia and Extinction

Toby Ord maps out concrete steps we can take to prevent the collapse of our civilisation or total extinction

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.

Praise for The Precipice

‘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


Speakers

Speaker

Toby Ord

Oxford philosopher, whose work focuses on the big picture challenges facing humanity


Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He is the founder of Giving What We Can and co-founder of the Effective Altruism movement, which has raised more than a hundred million pounds for some of the world’s most deserving causes. He has also advised DeepMind, the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the US National Intelligence Council and the UK Prime Minister’s Office, among others. He has been included in the FT’s ‘the good list’ which spotlighted the work of 10 inspiring philanthropists in 2020, alongside Kanye West and JK Rowling.
Chair

Jenny Kleeman

Award winning journalist, broadcaster and documentary film-maker


Award winning journalist, broadcaster and documentary film-maker. She presents the Breakfast show on Times Radio from Friday to Sunday and is the author of Sex Robots and Vegan Meat: Adventures at the Frontier of Birth, Food, Sex & Death.

 

Speakers are subject to change.