This report reviews and appraises the methods and approaches for assessing the drivers of global catastrophic risk. The review contains five sections:
- A conceptual overview setting out the current understanding of the concept of global catastrophic risks (GCRs), their drivers, and how they can be assessed.
- A brief historical overview of the field of GCR research, indicating how our understanding of the drivers of GCRs has developed.
- A summary of existing studies that seek to quantify the drivers of GCR by assessing the likelihood that different causes will precipitate a global catastrophe.
- A critical evaluation of the usefulness of this research given the conceptual framework outlined in section 1 and a review of emerging conceptual, evaluative and risk assessment tools that may allow for better assessments of the drivers of GCRs in the future.
- A proposal for how the Global Challenges Foundation could work to most productively improve our understanding of the drivers of GCRs given the findings of sections 2, 3, and 4.
Authors: Dr. Simon Beard is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk where he works on the project “Managing Extreme Technological Risks”. Phil Torres is an author and scholar, published widely on emerging technologies, terrorism, and existential risks.