Time of perils

Duration of the time of perils

Carl Shulman has argued that the time of perils will likely last only a few centuries because of various technological developments that are jointly expected to eventually bring down existential risk per century to very low levels. As Shulman writes,[1]

It's quite likely the extinction/existential catastrophe rate approaches zero within a few centuries if civilization survives, because:

  1. Riches and technology make us comprehensively immune to  natural disasters.
  2. Cheap ubiquitous detection, barriers, and sterilization make civilization immune to biothreats
  3. Advanced tech makes neutral parties immune to the effects of nuclear winter.
  4. Local cheap production makes for small supply chains that can regrow from disruption as industry becomes more like information goods.
  5. Space colonization creates robustness against local disruption.
  6. Aligned AI blocks threats from misaligned AI (and many other things).
  7. Advanced technology enables stable policies (e.g. the same AI police systems enforce treaties banning WMD war for billions of years), and the world is likely to wind up in some stable situation (bouncing around until it does).
  1. ^

    Shulman, Carl (2022) Comment on “The discount rate is not zero”, Effective Altruism Forum, September 2.

The time of perils is a hypothetical period in human history during which existential risk is unusually high. The time of perils hypothesis is the view that the present generation iswe are currently living in a periodtime of unusually high riskperils.

Further reading

MacAskill, William (2022) Are we living at the hinge of history?, in Jeff McMahan et al. (eds.) Ethics and Existence: The Legacy of Derek Parfit, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 331–357.

Related entries

human extinctionhinge of history.

Related: |Vulnerable vulnerable world hypothesis and Hinge of history

The time of perils hypothesis is the view that the present generation is living in a period of unusually high risk of human extinction.

Created by Pablo at 2y