The New State of Global Risk
Humanity lives within two interlinked systems: the biosphere and global civilization. Together, they are the life support system for all humans. For the first time in history, the structure of our growing global civilization is undermining the integrity of the biosphere upon which it depends. We are crossing planetary boundaries of both extraction and pollution, threatening the ability of our civilizational system to continue.
We are rapidly developing and distributing increasingly powerful new technologies across most domains in society. Technological progress is changing our civilization radically, bringing many benefits, while at the same time expanding the range and scope of catastrophic risks.
Advanced technologies increase the potential scale and externalities of violence and warfare. No earlier civilization could rapidly destroy the world in totalizing warfare, nor debase the integrity of the entire biosphere. An increasing range of new catastrophic weaponry continues to advance and move into the hands of a wider variety of actors. New types of chemical pollution and greater tools of environmental extraction are being developed, despite the passing of critical planetary boundaries. The increasing number and probability of human-induced global catastrophic risks is unprecedented and nearing irreversibility.
We have the technological ability to split the nucleus of an atom, edit the genetic base code of life, drive the rapid extinction of many species, create new genetically modified organisms, destroy whole ecosystems, and construct vast human-built environments. And now we have the ability to create artificial intelligences capable of advancing all categories of technology—as well as their strategic deployment—exponentially faster.
The essence of the Civilization Research Institute’s work is the development of a set of criteria for a global civilization wise enough to steward the power that our narrow intelligence has created. Our work aims to bring such a future into being.
If you feel aligned with this assessment and our goal, and if you feel that you have skills or resources to offer to this work, please contact us below.