Overview

Our research focuses on the identification, management and mitigation of possible extreme and existential risks associated with human activity, so that we can reap the enormous benefits of technological progress, while safely navigating the potentially catastrophic pitfalls.

A key concern is to identify areas of technology-related risk that have received little academic and scientific study to date. In doing so, we aim to identify which of these need to be taken seriously – which technologies will require very careful thought to be given to appropriate safety protocols and governmental regulation – and which can safely be dismissed as science fiction.

Our research brings together some of the best minds from academia, industry and the policy world to examine the nature of these risks, and work to ensure that developments in powerful new technologies are safe and beneficial. We focus especially on under-studied high-impact risks – those that might result in a global catastrophe, or even threaten human extinction, even if only with low probability.

Our current research agenda comprises two main strands:

  1. Developing a general methodology for the management of extreme risk. The aim is to develop a set of methods and protocols specifically designed for the identification, assessment and mitigation of this class of risks. These methods will complement other projects on risks in particular domains.
  2. Analysis of specific potential risks. Focus areas include: artificial intelligence; biotechnology risks; climate change and ecological risks; and systemic risks and fragile networks.