The Future of Humanity Institute is a multidisciplinary research institute at the University of Oxford.  It enables a select set of leading intellects to bring the tools of mathematics, philosophy, and science to bear on big-picture questions about humanity and its prospects.  The Institute belongs to the Faculty of Philosophy and is affiliated with the Oxford Martin School.

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FHI ongoing Graduate Lecture Series — November 2015

Hosted by Owen Cotton-Barratt

On long timescales, where is humanity headed? What are the big uncertainties? What does that mean for decisions today? In this series of lectures, we will tackle these issues, and explore the questions that feed into them.Many are multidisciplinary, and progress often draws on knowledge and tools from economics and other sciences, philosophy, and mathematics.

We will look at the progress made in the last few years by researchers, including those at the Future of Humanity Institute, a multidisciplinary research institute within the Oxford Martin School. We will highlight important open questions, and invite participants to share their expertise and discuss how progress might be made.

These seminars are aimed at researchers in any discipline who have an interest in long-term and big-picture thinking. Although we aim to quickly reach open research questions, the talks will serve as an introduction to the area, and no prior knowledge is required. The format will be a talk of around 40 minutes, and 20 minutes of discussion. They will be held 3-4pm on Wednesdays, at the Future of Humanity Institute, Littlegate House, OX1 1PT.

Streaming and recordings of the lectures will be available on this Youtube Playlist.


7th Week – Wednesday 25th November

Owen Cotton-Barratt: “Great unknowns”

How should we act in the face of great empirical uncertainty? How much can we rely on models? Should we let our actions be guided by speculative small chances of enormous payoffs?

8th Week – Wednesday 2nd December

Owen Cotton-Barratt: “Differential progress and information hazards”

The long-term trajectory of humanity is likely to be affected by the direction of progress more than its speed. How can we identify and affect this? When are we better not sharing information?

The New Yorker’s article about Nick Bostrom — November 2015

The latest article of The New Yorker titled ‘The Doomsday Invention’ about Nick Bostrom and his best-seller book ‘Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies’ has now been published. The writer of the article, Raffi Khatchadourian, who was nominated for a National Magazine Award in profile writing, throws light on Nick Bostrom’s profile and on The Future of Humanity Institute’s research.

The full article is available to view here.


Nick Bostrom speaks at United Nations Headquarters — October 2015

On October 7th Prof. Nick Bostrom spoke alongside Max Tegmark from the Future of Life Institute at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Nick Bostrom interviewed on BBC HardTalk — October 2015

Prof. Nick Bostrom was given a half-hour prime-time interview on BBC HardTalk.  

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