Dr Simon Beard is a research associate at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, and an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker. With a background in academic philosophy, he works on ethical problems relating to the long-term future of humanity, as well as evaluating extreme technological risks.
In our conversation, we discuss the influence of the late philosopher Derek Parfit, and how his writing motivated the modern existential risk movement. We ask about how research at CSER gets done, how to interpret probability estimates about major one-off events like global catastrophes, and how climate change is most likely to precipitate a global catastrophe. Lastly, Simon reflects on his experience running as a political candidate, how incentives in academia may be fixed, and what COVID has taught us about the fragility of global systems. In the linked article, I summarise and illustrate these ideas.
I'm creating this thread in case anyone wanted to share their thoughts on the topics covered in this episode. This is in the spirit of MichaelA's suggestion of posting all EA-relevant content here. Cheers!