Humanity on the Edge of Extinction | Anders Sandberg | TEDxVienna

Existential risks are risks that threaten the survival or long-term flourishing of humanity. Avoiding them is an obvious top priority. But if a major catastrophe was to occur, what could we do to prevent humanity from going extinct? Can we ensure that survivors can rebuild civilisation? Anders Sandberg is a senior research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University. His research centres on management of low-probability high-impact risks, estimating the capabilities of future technologies, and very long-range futures. He has a background in computational neuroscience, transhumanism, and future studies. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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Comment (48)

  1. Here we are who bought a few years worth of freeze dried foods and a bugout bunker to survive the coronavirus once it mutates and becomes even more deadlier than it already is?

  2. Post nuke war, who is manning the nuke power plants? With grid power blasted away, the plants need to be operated for 3 to 10 years on emergency power. Hotter inlet water will make cooling even more difficult. Where will the diesel come from? Wells need electricity to pump oil. Pipelines need electricity to pump oil. Refineries need power to operate. Transporting the diesel to the plants will need diesel from the non-working refineries. No water at the pumps, no food at the stores, no internet, no phones, no air travel, and, in short order, no transportation. Then the 1300 fuel cooling pools quickly dry out and catch fire, with some of them, perhaps many of them, experience the prompt nuclear event of unit 3 at Fukushima. Fukushima times perhaps 500. On top of dam failures, chemical plants erupting into fire with billowing toxic smoke, dead zones in the ocean emit highly poisonous Hydrogen Sulfide. It goes on and on.

  3. Fukushima Dai'ichi is an extinction level event. The triple meltdowns will leach radioactive contamination century after century into the Pacific Ocean until marine life is wiped out. Already marine wildlife along the West coast of Canada and USA has been devastated since the accident in year 2011.

  4. Close calls… still we are kinda lucky, the only pandemic that really spread lately has a very low death rate. What would have been a virus this easy to catch but with a 30, 40, 50, 60 percent death rate… I think no one could even begin to imagine what kind of chaos it would have brought upon our modern society.

  5. If you want to save the human species, and possibly a lot of other life on this planet – get rid of contempt for difference and so-called "defects" and "shortcomings". That is what causes distrust, exploitation, oppression, and such. Not to mention a prime motivator of violence (including full-scale war). We must purge petty distaste for others from our psyches, or we will perish.

  6. Given that more than 99% of all species that have ever existed on this planet are now extinct, it makes sense that our time will come, one way or another. We're staggeringly egocentric.

  7. I don't know why but something about this is almost relieving. I'm not saying I want anything to die or anything like that, I just feel that it would be like a great new page for everything else on the planet.

  8. The only way to save humanity is to create a vaccine to seal women's ovaries as soon as they are born. By sealing women we conserve life on earth, increase and conserve natural resources, economic stability and prevents NASA from seeking resources for human survival on other planets. For every 1000 women born, 800 will be vaccinated and will not be reproductive. All this done by a random drawing and the family will know. That Stephen Hawking did not think.

    Advantages of vaccination:

    * Saving drinking water.
    *Increased resources for human survival.
    *Reduction of pesticides to accelerate food production, resulting in healthier foods for the population.
    *Increased conservation of the green area mainly within the urban perimeter.
    *Economic balance for populous developed or underdeveloped countries.
    *Reducing violence and promoting greater savings and control of public security.
    *Normality in hospital care and savings in health supplies.
    *Reduction of desease transmission.
    *It removes the pressure on the NASA to search for planets that can afford human survival.
    *Greater concentration of state wealth.

  9. After collapse of our industrial civilization and the melt down of 450 nuclear powerplants, there will be no complex life on this planet for many millions of years.


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