Risks from malevolent actors are risks posed by individuals with narcissistic, psychopathic, sadistic or other socially harmful personality traits (Althaus & Baumann 2020).

Malevolence as a risk

Malevolence may be operationalized as the general factor that accounts for the observed correlations between negative personality traits—the so-called "dark core" of personality (Moshagen, Hilbig & Zettler 2018). People who score unusually highly on this general factor could pose serious risks for the long-term future of humanity, including existential risks and risks of astronomical suffering. Such people appear to be more likely than average to attain positions of power in government and industry. And conditional on gaining this influence they are also much more likely to cause major harm.

The types of risks malevolent actors in power might pose vary greatly. They include the spread of extremist and dangerous ideologies, the escalation of great power conflicts, the formation of totalitarian regimes, and the undermining of public institutions and global coordination. Since malevolence has a broadly negative influence, it is probably best regarded as a risk factor rather than as a distinct kind of risk....

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