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What is Existential Risk?

 , updated on August 23, 2017
An existential risk is a potential for life on earth to end. Alternatively it is defined as the potential for a negative outcome that dramatically sets back quality of life on a global basis.
Existential risks tend to be associated with technology and its intended or unintended consequences. Technology related existential risks include the potential for an invention or experiment to grow out of control and suddenly become an insurmountable problem. Technology risks also include long term problems that become obvious but that go unresolved due to political obstacles or conflict between countries. A third category of existential risk is a natural disaster of great scope such as the eruption of a supervolcano or impact of a large asteroid.
Due to the large-scale impact of existential risks it often makes sense to invest in preventing them even if they have a small probability of occurring.
Overview: Existential Risk
Type
Definition (1)
Potential for an outcome that ends advanced life on earth.
Definition (2)
Potential for an outcome that dramatically reduces quality of life on a global basis.
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