Beyond risk-benefit analysis: pricing externalities for gain-of-function research of concern

Owen Cotton-Barratt, Sebastian Farquhar, Andrew Snyder-Beattie Full text (pdf) Preview The recent US moratorium on certain types of Gain-of-Function (GoF) research made it clear that a new approach is needed to balance the costs and benefits of potentially risky research. Current risk management tools work well in the context of most laboratory risk, where risks […]

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Allocating risk mitigation across time – FHI technical report

Owen Cotton-Barratt has just released a Future of Humanity Institute technical report on the strategic considerations in the timing of work on catastrophic risks such as artificial intelligence- “Allocating risk mitigation across time”. From his abstract: This article is about priority-setting for work aiming to reduce existential risk. Its chief claim is that all else […]

Give now or later? What to do when the order of your actions matters

Owen Cotton-Barratt and Ben Todd This post was produced in collaboration with 80,000 Hours. The introduction, below is also available on 80,000 Hour’s website. The detailed methodological considerations supporting it are below. These considerations can be easily extended to a wide range of similar applications, including the rate at which foundations spend down their reserves. […]

Unprecedented technological risks include those from Gain-of-Function research

Unprecedented Technological Risks

Over the next few decades, the continued development of dual-use technologies will provide major benefits to society. They will also pose significant and unprecedented global risks, including risks of new weapons of mass destruction, arms races, or the accidental deaths of billions of people. Synthetic biology, if more widely accessible, would give terrorist groups the […]