Emerging Technologies, Catastrophic Risk, and Ethics: Three Strategies for Reducing Risk

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Conference Proceeding

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Numerous emerging technologies promise great, but finite, benefits while also placing humanity at tremendous risk, even the risk of extinction (an infinite loss). This paper argues that these risky technologies need to be developed with great care and that three strategies should be broadly implemented in order to facilitate risk mitigation and adaptation towards these risks. The first strategy is to mitigate risk by containing the research and development of risky technologies to science, technology and engineering (STE) professionals. The second strategy is to mitigate risk by directing technological development towards good uses of emerging technologies and away from risky uses. The third strategy is to adapt to catastrophic risks through defensive adaptation: preparing for disaster response and recovery. STE professional societies should play key roles in this project to create a better future.