During the course of my life, I’ve become increasingly interested in peace. How is it made? How is it maintained? How is it destroyed? From a young age, I was deeply influenced by my father’s interest in history and the Remembrance Day (November 11th) events by the Canadian Legion. However, despite many earnest attempts to […]
Author: Ben Harack
The cooperation possibility frontier
Last year, we helped write a paper about the future of global governance. As we researched and brainstormed ideas for that paper, we found ourselves continually confronted with a deceptively simple question: Why don’t the countries of the world cooperate more?
University of Regina graduates envision global governance that works
Graduates from the University of Regina have envisioned a practical path forward for global governance. Hailing from across Saskatchewan, they banded together in 2017 in the hopes that fresh eyes and hard work could improve the state of world politics.
Know yourself: Cognitive biases undermining the study of existential risks
Humans tend to make mistakes when thinking about existential risks. Part of the problem is that risk assessment is very difficult when risks are complex and far in the future. However, even if we acknowledge that difficulty and begin to diligently work towards averting risks, we still have to learn to think clearly. This turns […]
Know your enemy: Saving the world requires humble diligent thought
The end of humanity is difficult to contemplate. Merely having a coherent discussion about existential risks requires that we arm ourselves with effective habits of thought and cultivate a resilient disposition. Let’s muster our courage and talk about a few of the main challenges we humans face when we try to confront the problem of […]
The moral imperative of averting existential risks
Existential risks are bad. Stopping human extinction is good. Without getting too deep into philosophy, let’s talk about why we believe these things. Most people would agree that human life is a good thing, and that the death of a human is a bad thing. In case you don’t hold this belief, I recommend these […]
How much do humans need to cooperate in order to survive?
Existential risks are thorny problems. They generally can’t be solved by one person working alone. Success will almost certainly require deep cooperation among all countries. In fact, existential risks can be categorized according to how much cooperation is needed to avoid them. Mass cooperation without an explicit structure might work for some types of risk […]
Cooperate or perish: Minimal levels of collaboration needed to save the world
One way to quantify the danger posed by an existential risk is to examine how much countries will need to cooperate in order to avoid it. Since successful avoidance of an existential risk can be considered a public good (something that benefits the well-being of all members of a society) we can borrow some terminology […]
Occupy heaven: The vast potential of humanity if we can safeguard our future
If we can travel to other stars, there may one day be billions of times as many humans alive at one time as there are today. If we can travel beyond our galaxy there may one day be trillions of humans alive at one time for every one of us today. In case the sheer number of living humans wasn’t overwhelming enough, consider the fact that these civilizations could persist for many billions of years.
Humanity must flourish to survive
We live in a universe that is very hostile to life as we know it. The only habitable place we’ve found so far is the place we grew up: a thin layer atop the surface of the Earth. This is an incredibly small fraction of all volume in the known universe. Even if we make […]
Our unfriendly universe: Risks of human extinction by nature
Nature poses many risks to humanity. We examine the most dangerous natural disasters and estimate the likelihood that they will cause human extinction.
How likely is human extinction due to a natural pandemic?
A pandemic is the rapid spread of an infectious disease across a large region. Global pandemics will likely occur in the future, but their danger is very hard to estimate. So far, pandemics have received far more attention than other natural existential threats and our analysis below indicates that this level of attention is appropriate. […]
What will cause human extinction: Natural disaster or human folly?
Existential risks can be divided into two groups: those that are caused by nature and those that are caused by humans (also known as anthropogenic risks). Natural risks come from the physical processes of the Earth, sun, and universe at large. These events have always been a danger to all life on Earth, including humanity. […]
The difference between existential risks and global catastrophic risks
A global catastrophic risk is a possible future event that would cause severe harm to humans on a global scale. An existential risk is a global catastrophic risk that has a chance of rendering humanity extinct.
What is an existential risk?
An existential risk is a possible future event that could potentially cause the extinction of humans or the permanent destruction of our ability to thrive. Studying them is very challenging, but given what is at stake, existential risks need to be studied with great care and intensity.
Regina’s Rooming Houses debate
The City of Regina has recently begun consulting residents about the subject of “Rooming Houses,” which are homes in residential areas in which both the owner and renters are residing. If all renters in a home are relatives, then it is not a Rooming House.1 The City has asked that comments on the subject be […]
Fair Vote Canada Video Contest
Fair Vote Canada, an organization dedicated to voting system reform, has launched a video contest. The intent of the contest is to find new and better ways to communicate both the drawbacks of Canada’s current winner-takes-all voting system and the benefits of proportional representation (PR) voting systems. We fully support Fair Vote Canada in their […]
Response to Design Regina Draft Documents
Preface This document is a response to the draft documents posted as part of the Design Regina process. The authors of this response are also the primary authors of Transforming Regina: Planning for 2040 and beyond, which achieved a place in the finals of the Regina Morph My City competition. Readers interested in a detailed […]
Harvest and Hunger: Brainstorming the future of the world food system
Harvest and Hunger The Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation is hosting an event in Saskatoon on November 10th called Harvest and Hunger. The event sets out to answer three questions: Who controls the world’s food? Who has power in the global food system? Who doesn’t? What are people doing – both in Saskatchewan and around […]
Vision of Earth submission chosen as finalist in Morph My City Competition
Vision of Earth has been selected as a finalist in the Regina Morph My City competition. We’ll be presenting our work at the National Infrastructure Summit and releasing all of it to the public.