Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

The End of the World is all the rage these days. Though it seems like pop-culture has grown tired of asteroids and aliens as we’ve all moved towards zombies. Maybe it’s because the other stuff feels a little bit too possible, and zombies gives us a way to have end times anxiety with a bit of detachment from reality.

Luckily though, there are some guys at Oxford who have set up shop with the intent on making sure we understand all of the different ways that technology could wipe us out.

Are you more likely to die from cancer or be wiped out by a malevolent computer? That thought has been bothering one of the co-founders of Skype so much he teamed up with Oxbridge researchers in the hopes of predicting what machine super-intelligence will mean for the world, in order to mitigate the existential threat of new technology – that is, the chance it will destroy humanity. That idea is being studied at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute and the newly launched Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge, where philosophers look more widely at the possible repercussions of nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence and other innovations — and to try to avoid being outsmarted by technology.

My prediction: whatever finally does it will be the result of video game DRM gone rogue. And it will likely have Netflix streaming.