• Existential Hope

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    Lurking existential risks are omnipresent in our future trajectory: Climate change, pandemics, nuclear war, risks from AI, and AGI are quite sobering and at times make me doubt whether we’ll make it through the century. While a sober assessment of risks is important, this alone could put the cart before the horse: In focusing solely on how catastrophic human extinction would be, we sometimes forget that extinction is only so bad because the alternative could be so good: the futures that we can create if we don’t get wiped out. These are beautiful beyond imagination.


    Optimistic visions like these do something to me, they tickle a different part of my mind than neutral assessments of risks, or even the currently all too seductive doomsday propagations, or dystopias we’re racing toward. Thus, if we care about a long-term future for sentient beings, the best way to bring this about might not be by focusing only on the risks preventing us from getting there but on the visions that remind us of why we absolutely have to get there.


    This website is a pool of readings, podcasts, videos, projects, and organizations that inspire a positive long-term future for humanity, one with "existential hope" (a term first coined in this paper by Owen Cotton-Barratt and Toby Ord). The website is divided into three sections: 1) setting the vision of why we should care about a positive long-term future, and where we could be if we overcome the risks that we’re all so worried about. 2) zooming in on the focus areas we need to work on to increase the likelihood of those positive long-term futures, 3) making a toolkit that individuals can put to work in the focus areas to make progress.


    The purpose is to lock in and share the progress we make on a macro level and help orient those who'd like to help work toward positive futures to self-select to the causes they have an advantage in solving.


    But the project is in its infancy. Please add your favorite readings, fiction, and non-fiction, general and topic-specific, useful tools for world-improvement you’ve come across, podcasts that motivate you, organizations you’re a member of, websites you sift through, good people you follow, action-items and advice for change. Let's index our knowledge, share it, and act on it.


    For a quick intro to this project, see The Overview or join our mailing list to become part of the community.

    Allison Duettmann - a@foresight.org - Foresight Institute

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