In this chapter we explore what the future might be like, and why it might matter. We’ll explore arguments for “longtermism” - the view that improving the long term future is a key moral priority. This can bolster arguments for working on reducing some of the extinction risks that we covered in the last two weeks. We’ll also explore some views on what our future could look like, and why it might be pretty different from the present.

Key concepts from this chapter include:

  • Impartiality: helping those that need it the most, only discounting people according to location, time, and species if those factors are in fact morally relevant.
  • Forecasting: Predicting the future is hard, but it can be worth doing in order to make our predictions more explicit and learn from our mistakes.

You will also practice the skill of calibration, with the hope that when you say that something is 60% likely, it will happen about 60% of the time. This is important for making good judgments under uncertainty.

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