Rethink Priorities’ Existential Security Team is working to cause the greatest expected increase it can to the value of the long-term future. It focuses on research and field building related to reducing existential risks — including the risk of human extinction.
Humanity could have a bright and long future that may span many millions of years — assuming that we effectively navigate various risks and build the foundations for a flourishing future society.
Rethink Priorities’ Longtermism department grew significantly in 2022, from three to 16 people (including permanent and temporary staff). The department is organised into the AI Governance & Strategy Team and the Existential Security Team (XST). Donations here will support the work of XST.
The XST's work involves both research and field building.
Its research explores how decision-makers can best reduce extreme risks and safeguard a flourishing future — including topics such as pandemic prevention, civilisational resilience, risks from nanotechnology, and forecasting methods.
In field building, XST:
In 2022, the XST began investigating what entrepreneurial projects seem like they should be launched in order to improve the long-term future, and began exploring the idea of acting as an incubator for such projects. The team has helped launch two career advising and training projects — Condor Camp and EA Pathfinder — and is continuing to explore other project incubation ideas.
For more information about its future directions, see Rethink Priorities’ XST update from May 2023.
The impact-focused evaluator, Longview Philanthropy, shared that it thought their work on safeguarding the long-term future was highly cost-effective.