I am also surprised that there are few comments here. Given the long and detailed technical quibbles that often append many of the rather esoteric EA posts it surprises me that where there is an opportunity to shape tangible influences at a global scale there is silence. I feel that there are often gaps in the EA community in the places that would connect research and insight with policy and governance.
Sean is right, there has been accumulating interest in this space. Our paper on the UN and existential risks in ‘Risk Analysis’ (2020) was awarded ‘best paper’ by that journal, and I suspect these kind of sentiments by the editors and many many others in the risk community have finally leaned upon the UN in sufficient weight, marshalled by the SG’s generally sympathetic disposition.
The UN calls for futures and foresight capabilities across countries and there is much scope for pressure on policy makers in every nation to act and establish such institutions. We have a forthcoming paper (November) in the New Zealand journal ‘Policy Quarterly’ that calls for a Parliamentary Commissioner for Extreme Risks to be supported by a well-resourced office and working in conjunction with a Select Committee. The Commissioner could offer support to CEOs of public sector organisations as they complete the newly legislated ‘long-term insights briefings’ that are to be tabled in Parliament from 2022.
I advocate for more work of this kind, but projects that ‘merely’ translate technical philosophical and ethical academic products into policy advocacy pieces don’t seem to generate funding. Yet, they may have the greatest impact. It matters not whether a paper is cited 100 times, it matters very much if the Minister with decision making capability is swayed by a well argued summary of the literature.