Some people have previously suggested that “warning shots” in the form of things somewhat like, but less extreme than, global or existential catastrophes could increase the extent to which people prepare for future GCRs and existential risks.
What evidence does/did COVID-19, reactions to it, and reactions to it that seem likely to occur in future provide for or against that idea?
And what evidence do these things give about how well society generalises the lesson from such warning shots? E.g., does/will society from COVID-19 that it’s important to make substantial preparations for other types of low-likelihood, high-stakes possibilities like AI risk? This could be seen as trying to gather more evidence (or at least thoughts) relevant to the following statement from Nick Beckstead (2015):
Overspecificity of reactions to warning shots: It may be true that, e.g., the 1918 flu pandemic served as a warning shot for more devastating pandemics that happened in the future. For example, it frequently gets invoked in support of arguments for enhancing biosecurity. But it seems significantly less true that the 1918 flu pandemic served as a warning shot for risks from nuclear weapons, and it is not clear that the situation would change if one were talking about a pandemic more severe than the 1918 flu pandemic.