The mission of the Future of Life Institute is to catalyze and support research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future, including positive ways for humanity to steer its own course considering new technologies and challenges.
We have technology to thank for all the ways in which today is better than the stone age, and technology is likely to keep improving at an accelerating pace. We are a charity and outreach organization working to ensure that tomorrow’s most powerful technologies are beneficial for humanity. With less powerful technologies such as fire, we learned to minimize risks largely by learning from mistakes. With more powerful technologies such as nuclear weapons, synthetic biology and future strong artificial intelligence, planning ahead is a better strategy than learning from mistakes, so we support research and other efforts aimed at avoiding problems in the first place.
We are currently focusing on keeping artificial intelligence beneficial and we are also exploring ways of reducing risks from nuclear weapons and biotechnology. FLI is based in the Boston area, and welcomes the participation of scientists, students, philanthropists, and others nearby and around the world. Here is a video highlighting our activities from our first year.
- Video: Scientists Support a Nuclear BanA video of prominent scientists calling for a ban on nuclear weapons, presented at the UN during discussions regarding the creation of the TPNW.
- Video: Why You Should Care About NukesHenry Reich with MinutePhysics and FLI’s Max Tegmark got together to produce an awesome and entertaining video about just how scary nuclear weapons are.
- Podcast: Nuclear Winter with Alan Robock and Brian ToonMeteorologist Alan Robock from Rutgers University and physicist Brian Toon from the University of Colorado discuss what is potentially the most devastating consequence of nuclear war: nuclear winter.
- Podcast: UN Nuclear Weapons Ban with Beatrice Fihn and Susi SnyderThis interview took place just a couple months before the United Nations voted in favor of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts later that year.
- Podcast: What Are the Odds of Nuclear War? A Conversation With Seth Baum and Robert de NeufvilleWhat are the odds of a nuclear war happening this century? And how close have we been to nuclear war in the past?
- Podcast: Nuclear Dilemmas, From North Korea to IranLearn more about the geopolitical issues surrounding North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear situations, as well as how nuclear programs in these countries are monitored.
- Podcast: AI and Nuclear Weapons – Trust, Accidents, and New Risks with Paul Scharre and Mike HorowitzThe role of automation in the nuclear sphere, and how the proliferation of AI technologies could change nuclear posturing and the effectiveness of deterrence.
- Podcast: Is Nuclear Weapons Testing Back on the Horizon? With Jeffrey Lewis and Alex BellHow much longer can nuclear weapons testing remain a taboo that almost no country will violate?
- 1100 Declassified US Nuclear TargetsHow many nukes do you think are needed for deterrence?
- Accidental Nuclear War: A Timeline of Close CallsThe most devastating military threat arguably comes from a nuclear war started not intentionally but by accident or miscalculation.
- The Risk of Nuclear WeaponsThe superpowers plan to invest over a trillion dollars upgrading their nuclear arsenals, which many experts believe increases the risk of nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism, and accidental nuclear war.
- An Open Letter from Scientists in Support of the UN Nuclear Weapons NegotiationsWe scientists bear a special responsibility for nuclear weapons, since it was scientists who invented them and discovered that their effects are even more horrific than first thought.