Short bio, Émile P. Torres.
My work over the past decade has centered around a single theme: eschatology, whether religious, secular, or scientific. Recently, I've focused on the nature and causes of human extinction, its ethical implications, and the history of the idea.
I used to write for the Future of Life Institute and was previously a research assistant to Ray Kurzweil and an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. I spent some time at Harvard University and earned a masters degree in Neuroscience from Brandeis University, although my background is the philosophy of mind and philosophy of science/biology (e.g., my very first publication was on mechanistic explanation). I am currently a PhD candidate at Leibniz Universität Hannover, in Germany. My forthcoming book Human Extinction: A History of the Science and Ethics of Annihilation (Routledge) is a sprawling work of intellectual history, ethics, and population axiology. I am teaching a course this semester titled "The Ethics of Human Extinction," which, to my knowledge, is the first ever on this particular topic.
I've published in scholarly journals like Erkenntnis, Futures, Bioethics,
Aggression and Violent Behavior, Foresight, Metaphilosophy, Inquiry, and the South African Journal of Philosophy, among others, and a chapter on algocracy was included in the Amazon bestseller Artificial Intelligence Safety and Security. I've also published articles in popular media like TIME, Slate, The Washington Post, Aeon, Motherboard,
Nautilus, Free Inquiry, Truthout, Counterpunch, Common Dreams, The Progressive, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. I'm currently a contributing writer at Salon.
My previous book (2017) was Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing: An Introduction to Existential Risks, which included a foreword from Lord Martin Rees. In 2019, I spent several months as a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, and have given talks at the Future of Humanity Institute (at the University of Oxford), Princeton University, and the Chalmers University of Technology, to name a few.
I've appeared on many podcasts, including Tech Won't Save Us, Dave Troy Presents, and Ologies, and have been interviewed about human extinction, artificial intelligence, and related topics on BBC radio, NowThis, and Al Jazeera TV (live). I'm scheduled to appear in a forthcoming docu-series that will be streaming on Netflex about secular apocalyptic scenarios.
On a personal note, I'm passionate about alleviating global poverty, and have pledged to give away everything I make over $35k a year. In December 2022, Nathan Young and I started a fundraiser that raised more than $300,000 for the charity Give Directly, which transfers 90% of donations into the hands of the world's poorest people. Please consider donating, if you can!
In a previous life I was a musician and audio engineer. One of the songs I wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered ended up in a GoPro commercial that went viral, and another was the runner-up in a NPR songwriting competition. I sold a bunch of songs to MTV.
Please feel free to email me if you'd like: email@example.com
I'm on Twitter @xriskology