New popular science book on x-risks: “End Times”

A new pop­u­lar sci­ence book on GCRs/​X-risks was just pub­lished, which sum­ma­rizes the ma­jor risks (see table of con­tents be­low). It could be recom­mended to peo­ple un­til Toby Ord’s book comes out.

Sur­pris­ingly, the book quotes many promi­nent x-risks schol­ars and ex­plains some pretty com­plex top­ics very well for a pop sci­ence book (e.g. unilat­er­al­ist’s curse, info haz­ards, an­thropic shadow, the Aes­ti­va­tion hy­poth­e­sis, co­her­ent ex­trap­o­lated vo­li­tion). To give you a bet­ter idea, I’ve copied out the first page of the in­dex from the Ama­zon pre­view be­low (ex­cuse the poor for­mat­ting).

Here’s a pos­i­tive re­view by the di­rec­tor of the Global Catas­trophic Risks In­sti­tute.

The au­dio­book ver­sion makes it easy to get through (com­plete with the nar­ra­tor imi­tat­ing the ac­cents of the peo­ple in­ter­viewed—only mildly offen­sive).

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. As­teroid: The Uni­verse Is Try­ing To Kill Us

2. Vol­cano: A Decade Without A Summer

3. Nu­clear: The Fi­nal Cur­tain On Mankind

4: Cli­mate Change: What Do We Owe The Fu­ture?

5. Disease: Twenty-first-cen­tury Plague

6. Biotech­nol­ogy: Eng­ineer­ing A Killer

7: Ar­tifi­cial In­tel­li­gence: Sum­mon­ing The De­mon.

8. Aliens: Where Is Every­body?

9. Sur­vival: The Day After

10. The End: Why We Fight

INDEX

Ack­er­man, Thomas, ac­tive mes­sag­ing, See also SETI benefits and risks of, 286 con­tent of, 285 Drake Arecibo at­tempt, 284, 285 METI and, 283, 285-286 pro­po­nents of, 283 ques­tion of right to, 285-286 risk posed by, 284-285, Soviet at­tempt, 283-284 Ad­vanced Aerospace Threat, Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Pro­gram, 292 AGI. See ar­tifi­cial gen­eral in­tel­li­gence Al. See ar­tifi­cial in­tel­li­gence “AI win­ter,”246 aliens. See also SETI, ar­tifi­cial, 293 biolog­i­cal as­sump­tion, 293 chances of mak­ing con­tact with, 290 com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy, 298 en­ergy needs of, 298–299 as ex­is­ten­tial risk, 289 ex­is­ten­tial risk ques­tion of, 176-177 Fermi Para­dox and, 296,297, 299, 300 fic­tion about, 276 germ fear and, 293 as hi­ber­nat­ing, 299-300 as hid­ing, 298 in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion of Amer­i­cas, and, 290-291 in­ter­stel­lar dis­tance and, 293–294, 296, 297 malware and, 294 necrosig­na­tures, 303-304, 305 no ev­i­dence of pres­ence of, 298 Rus­sian readi­ness for, 291-292 unify­ing force as­sump­tion, 288, 291 United States readi­ness for, 292 The War of the Wor­lds (Wells) and, 292-293 Allen Te­lescope Ar­ray, 280 Alli­ance to Res­cue Civ­i­liza­tion (ARC), 328 Alli­son, Sam K., 92 AlphaGo, 249, 257 AlphaS­tar, 250 AlphaZero, 249-250, 261, 264 Alt­man, Sam, 272 al­tru­ism, genes as­so­ci­ated with, 334 Al­varez, Walter, 18, 22-23 Ama­zon Alexa, 257, 265 Am­brose, Rampino and Stan­ley, 61, 62 Amherst, Jeffery, 207 Amoy Gar­dens out­break, 177, 178, 179 An­dreessen, Marc, 236 an­thrax, 208 an­thropic shadow, 84, 85 an­thro­pogenic ex­is­ten­tial risks, 6 “an­tibiotic apoc­a­lypse,” 186 an­tibiotics, 4, 184, 186, 199 apoc­a­lyp­tic events. See also ex­is­ten­tial risk(s) Hol­ly­wood and, 23 shar­ing and car­ing and, 62 sur­viv­ing, 307-326 Apoca­lyp­tic Planet (Childs), 26 Apophis, 44 Arch Mis­sion Foun­da­tion, 329 arc­tic sea ice, 130 Arecibo mes­sag­ing, 284, 285 “ar­ith­metic of com­pas­sion, 100-101 Arkhipov, Vasili, 108-109, 110 Ar­maged­don, 23, 24, 40 Arm­strong, Stu­art, 299 Ar­rhe­nius, Svante, 139 392