Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) is pleased to announce a contribution of up to £13.3 million from the Open Philanthropy Project. The donation, which includes a £6 million up-front commitment with the rest contingent on hiring, is the largest in the Faculty of Philosophy’s history. It will support FHI in its mission of ensuring a long and flourishing future for humanity.

The multidisciplinary nature of the research conducted at FHI brings the tools of mathematics, philosophy, social sciences, and science to bear on big-picture questions about humanity and its prospects for a long and flourishing future. FHI has, and continues to, shed light on crucial considerations that might shape our future.

Founding Director of the FHI, Professor Nick Bostrom says “There is a long-distance race on between humanity’s technological capability, which is like a stallion galloping across the fields, and humanity’s wisdom, which is more like a foal on unsteady legs.  This is a nice apple specifically for the foal.”

Researchers at FHI have originated or played a pioneering role in developing many of the concepts that shape current thinking about humanity’s deep future. These include existential risk, astronomical waste, the simulation argument, nanotechnology, the great filter, infinitarian paralysis, prediction markets, and analysis of superintelligence, brain emulations scenarios, human enhancement, transhumanism, and anthropics. This funding will help FHI scale up its research efforts and make advances in these and other crucial research areas, especially research towards AI, its alignment, governance and coordination, and biosecurity.

This stream of funding will foster new research and future research leaders in the fields of technical AI safety, governance of AI, biosecurity, and other challenges facing humanity with the advent of advanced technologies. It will also help FHI launch the Research Scholars Programme, providing opportunities to early career researchers to help encourage critical thinking on these crucial issues. This funding will cover costs associated with the programme until 2021. In addition, up to eight graduate students will benefit from full funding for their studies through FHI scholarships.

Nick Beckstead, Program Officer for Global Catastrophic Risks at The Open Philanthropy Project, says: “FHI has made major contributions to the study of potential risks from advanced AI and other issues related to humanity’s long-term future. We hope this funding will expand their work in these areas, and provide opportunities for a range of talented new people to enter the field.”

The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes its findings. Its mission is to give as effectively as it can and share the findings openly so that anyone can build on them.

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