Humanity has entered a new age, in which we face not only existential risks from our natural environment, but also the possibility that we might be able to extinguish ourselves. In this new age, what should be our biggest priority as a civilisation? Improving technology? Helping the poor? Changing the political system?
Here’s a suggestion that’s not so often discussed: our first priority should be to survive. So long as civilisation continues to exist, we’ll have the chance to solve all our other problems, and have a far better future. But if we go extinct, that’s it. Why isn’t this priority more discussed? Here’s one reason: many people don’t yet appreciate the change in situation, and so don’t think our future is at risk.
This is an article by Benjamin Todd published on 80000hours.org, it can also be consumed as audio.