In this episode I talk to Phil Torres. Phil is an author and researcher who primarily focuses on existential risk. He is currently a visiting researcher at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University. He has published widely on emerging technologies, terrorism, and existential risks, with articles appearing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Futures, Erkenntnis, Metaphilosophy, Foresight, Journal of Future Studies, and the Journal of Evolution and Technology. He is the author of several books, including most recently Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing: An Introduction to Existential Risks. We talk about the problem of apocalyptic terrorists, the proliferation dual-use technology and the governance problem that arises as a result. This is both a fascinating and potentially terrifying discussion.
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 3:14 – What is existential risk? Why should we care?
- 8:34 – The four types of agential risk/omnicidal terrorists
- 17:51 – Are there really omnicidal terror agents?
- 20:45 – How dual-use technology give apocalyptic terror agents the means to their desired ends
- 27:54 – How technological civilisation is uniquely vulernable to omnicidal agents
- 32:00 – Why not just stop creating dangerous technologies?
- 36:47 – Making the case for mass surveillance
- 41:08 – Why mass surveillance must be asymmetrical
- 45:02 – Mass surveillance, the problem of false positives and dystopian governance
- 56:25 – Making the case for benevolent superintelligent governance
- 1:02:51 – Why advocate for something so fantastical?
- 1:06:42 – Is an anti-tech solution any more fantastical than a benevolent AI solution?
- 1:10:20 – Does it all just come down to values: are you a techno-optimist or a techno-pessimist?
- Phil’s webpage
- ‘Superintelligence and the Future of Governance: On Prioritizing the Control Problem at the End of History’ by Phil
- Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing: An Introduction to Existential Risks by Phil
- ‘The Vulnerable World Hypothesis” by Nick Bostrom
- Phil’s comparison of his paper with Bostrom’s paper
- The Guardian orders the small-pox genome
- The Future of Violence by Ben Wittes and Gabriela Blum
- Future Crimes by Marc Goodman –
- The Dyn Cyberattack –
- Autonomous Technology by Langdon Winner
- ‘Biotechnology and the Lifetime of Technological Civilisations’ by JG Sotos –
- The God Machine Thought Experiment (Persson and Savulescu)