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 a biologist, science communicator, photographer, and television host based in New York City.