Matt Boyd

Health, technology and catastrophic risk - New Zealand

Comments

Is SARS-CoV-2 a modern Greek Tragedy?

Thanks for this response. I guess the motivation for me writing this yesterday was a comment from a member of NZ's public sector, who said basically 'the Atomic Scientists article falls afoul of the principle of parsimony'. So I wanted to give the other side, ie there actually are some reasons to think lab-leak rather than parsimonious natural explanation. So I completely take your point about balance, but the idea is part of a dialogue rather than a comprehensive analysis, that could have been clearer. Cheers. 

Is SARS-CoV-2 a modern Greek Tragedy?

Thanks for these. Super interesting credences here, 19% (that health organisations will conclude lab origin) to 83% (that gain of function was in fact contributory). I guess the strikingly wide range suggests genuine uncertainty. Watch this space with interest. 

Are Humans 'Human Compatible'?

Great additional detail, thanks!

Eight high-level uncertainties about global catastrophic and existential risk

Another one to consider, assuming you see it at the same level of analysis as the 8 above, is the spatial trajectory through which the catastrophe unfolds. E.g. a pandemic will spread from an origin(s) and I'm guessing is statistically likely to impact certain well-connected regions of the world first. Or a lethal command to a robot army will radiate outward from the storage facility for the army. Or nuclear winter will impact certain regions sooner than others. Or Ecological collapse due to an unstoppable biological novelty will devour certain kinds of environment more quickly (same possibly for grey goo), etc. There may be systematic regularities to which spaces on Earth are affected and when. Currently completely unknown. But knowledge of these patterns could help target certain kinds of resilience and mitigation measures to where they are likely to have time to succeed before themselves being impacted.