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. Areas of expertise include:
(-) The intellectual history of our modern, scientific idea of human extinction.
(-) The history of philosophical thinking about the ethical and evaluative implications of our extinction.
(-) Omnicidal agents or "agential risks," i.e., Who would destroy the world if they could?
(-) Machine superintelligence and algocracy (given the unprecedented distribution of offensive capabilities across society as a result of dual-use emerging technologies).
(-) Conceptual foundations of "Existential Risk Studies," for example: What does "existential risk" mean? What should it mean? How many normatively relevant types of human extinction are there? (My answer: at least six!)
(-) Climate change and stratospheric geoengineering.
(-) Philosophical critiques of "longtermism" (which I consider to be a profoundly dangerous ideology).
I used to write for the Future of Life Institute and was once a research assistant for Ray Kurzweil and Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. I spent some time at Harvard University and earned a master's degree in Neuroscience from Brandeis University, although my background is in the Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Science. I am currently a PhD candidate at Leibniz Universität Hannover, in Germany. My forthcoming book Human Extinction: A History of Thinking About the End of the World is a work of intellectual history.
I've published in scholarly journals like Erkenntnis, Futures, Bioethics, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Foresight, Metaphilosophy, Inquiry, and 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, Motherboard, Nautilus, Free Inquiry, Skeptic, Truthout, Counterpunch, The Progressive, Church and State, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
My previous book 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, the Chalmers University of Technology, to name a few.
In a previous life I was a musician and audio engineer. One of my songs ended up in a GoPro commercial that went viral, and another got runner-up in a NPR songwriting competition. I sold a bunch of songs to MTV.
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I'm on Twitter @xriskology