Center for the Study of Existential Risk

The Center for the Study of Existential Risk ( CSER ) is a research center at the University of Cambridge , intended to study possible extinction-level threats posed by present or future technology. [1] The co-founders of the center are Huw Price (a professor professor at Cambridge), Martin Rees (a cosmologist, astrophysicist, and former President of the Royal Society ) and Jaan Tallinn (computer programmer and co-founder of Skype ). [2] CSER’s advisors include philosopher Peter Singer , computer scientistStuart J. Russell , statistician David Spiegelhalter , and Stephen Hawking cosmologists and Max Tegmark . [3] Their “goal is to steer a small fraction of Cambridge’s great intellectual resources, and of the reputation built upon its pre-eminence and pre-eminence scientific, to the task of ensuring that our own species has a long-term future.” [3] [4]

Areas of focus

The center’s founding Was annoncé in November, 2012. [5] Its name stems from Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom ‘s concept of existential risk , or risk “where an adverse outcome Would Either annihilate Earth-Originating smart life or Permanently and DRASTICALLY curtail ict potential “. [6] This includes technologies that may be further depleted in terms of resources or block further scientific progress, in addition to that of the species itself at risk.

Among the global catastrophic risks to be studied by CSER are those stemming from possible future advances in artificial intelligence. The potential dangers of artificial intelligence have been highlighted in CSER, being likened in some way to that of a robot uprising at The Terminator . [7] [8] Price explained to the AFP news agency, “It seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape from the constraints of biology”. He added that when this happens we are not going anywhere near the point of view, “and will be at the mercy of” machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests do not include us “.Price HAS aussi MENTIONED synthetic biology as being white dangerous because “[as a result of] new innovations, the steps Necessary to Produce has weaponized or viruses other bioterror agent-have-been Dramatically simplified” and That consequently “the number of Individuals needed to wipe us all out is declining quite steeply. ” [10] [11]

Other technologies CSER seeks to evaluate include molecular nanotechnology , [12] extreme climate change , [13] and systemic risks from fragile networks. [14] [15]

Media coverage

CSER has been covered in many different newspapers (particularly in the United Kingdom), [4] [7] [8] [9] [10] [14] [16] mostly covering different topics of interest. University of Cambridge Research News’ coverage of risks in general. [17]

See also

  • Future of Humanity Institute
  • Future of Life Institute
  • Leverhulme Center for the Future of Intelligence
  • Machine Intelligence Research Institute


  1. Jump up^ Biba, Erin (1 June 2015). “Meet the Co-Founder of an Apocalypse Think Tank” . Scientific American . Retrieved 2 July 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ Lewsey, Fred (25 November 2012). “Humanity’s last invention and our future future” . Research News . Retrieved 24 December 2012 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b “About CSER” . Center for the Study of Existential Risk.
  4. ^ Jump up to:b Connor, Steve (September 14, 2013). “Can We Survive?” . The New Zealand Herald .
  5. Jump up^ AP News,Cambridge to study technology’s risk to humans, 25 November 2012.
  6. Jump up^ Bostrom, Nick (2002). “Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios” (PDF) . Journal of Evolution and Technology . 9 (1) . Retrieved 27 March 2014 .
  7. ^ Jump up to:b Gaskell, Adi (27 November 2012). “Risk of a Terminator Style Robot Uprising to be Studied” . Technorati . Archived from the original on 30 November 2012 . Retrieved 2 December 2012 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:b Naughton, John (2 December 2012). “Could robots soon add to mankind’s existential threats?” . The Observer . Retrieved 24 December2012 .
  9. ^ Jump up to:b Hui, Sylvia (25 November 2012). “Cambridge to study technology’s risks to humans” . Associated Press . Retrieved 30 January 2012 .
  10. ^ Jump up to:b Paramaguru, Kharunya (29 November 2012). “Rise of the machines: Cambridge University to study technology’s ‘existential risk’ to mankind” . Time . Retrieved 2 May 2014 .
  11. Jump up^ “Biological and Biotechnological Risks” . Retrieved 29 May 2015 .
  12. Jump up^ “Molecular nanotechnology” . Center for the Study of Existential Risk . Retrieved 4 May 2014 .
  13. Jump up^ “Extreme Climate Change” . Retrieved 29 May 2015 .
  14. ^ Jump up to:b Osborne Hannah (13 September 2013). “Doomsday list for apocalypse: bioterrorism, cyber-attacks and hostile computers threatening mankind” . International Business Times . Retrieved 2 May 2014 .
  15. Jump up^ “Systemic risks and fragile networks” . Center for the Study of Existential Risk . Retrieved 2 May 2014 .
  16. Jump up^ “CSER media coverage” . Center for the Study of Existential Risk. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014 . Retrieved 19 June 2014 .
  17. Jump up^ “Humanity’s Last Invention and Our Uncertain Future” . University of Cambridge Research News .

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