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Public Opinion about Existential Risk

Summary : An MTurk study of people in the United States (N=395) found median estimates of 1%, 5%, and 20% for the chance of human extinction in 50, 100, and 500 years, respectively. People were fairly confident in their answers and tended to think the government should prioritize preventing human... Read More
Comment author: cscanlon 25 August 2018 12:17:50AM 6 points [-]

Great idea! For the section on existential risk, my suggestion would be https://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/Existential-Risks-2017-01-23.pdf It has a government and diplomacy point of view, but I found it much more readable than other material I have encountered on the topic. I'm not an expert in this area though, so if someone has a better suggestion for an accessible introduction, go for it.

Comment author: cscanlon 25 August 2018 12:02:11AM 3 points [-]

Thank you for this post! It would be great to think about coordinating evaluations of such projects, so we can learn from each other. Would the best way be to post to the forum, or does LEAN keep a database of comments/reflections/reports from local groups on what they have tried and how it has gone?

Also, has the follow-up article with ideas for projects been posted?

Comment author: cscanlon 24 August 2018 02:10:18PM 2 points [-]

I have a post coming up soon on public opinion on this question, not that it tells us what a well-researched estimate would be. As a follow-up it could be worth investigating whether presenting people with a number (if any knowledgeable researchers can be persuaded to give one) is makes a difference compared with presenting a similar argument without a numerical risk estimate, in terms of people thinking the issue is important or supporting or taking an action to address it.

Comment author: baxterb 09 August 2018 02:01:55PM 0 points [-]

Definitely true on both counts. I suspect that many answers are signalling intentions, but social desirability certainly has a role to play, as we mentioned above. This is one of the reasons we are now placing less emphasis on the future collection of quantitative survey data.

Comment author: cscanlon 24 August 2018 01:36:19PM *  2 points [-]

What do you see as a better way of gathering data going forward?