The Precipice

by Toby Ord

Book Reviews

  • The world can have a very good future, but there are risks that can mean that we don't have a future at all. We should be thinking about those risks now. Toby Ord's book is about those risks and I very, very much recommend it. to Tweet
  • If you don't believe me, maybe you trust reviewers on Amazon. Here in the UK the book has been out for two weeks and currently @tobyordoxford's book has 15 reviews all of which gave the book 5 stars. to Tweet
  • Toby Ord's book is out and I very much recommend it. It is a careful and comprehensive analysis of one of the most important questions: the existential risks that humanity is facing. Here is the site of the book: And I'll share a few thoughts below. to Tweet
  • And in early March my colleague Toby Ord publishes his book 'The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity’ I’ve read some of his manuscript over the years and if you are interested in existential risk I very much recommend it.Link to Tweet

About Book

From a leading philosopher, an urgent and eye-opening book that makes the case that safeguarding humanity from extinction is the central challenge of our time. From nuclear war and climate change to AI and synthetic biology, the risk of human extinction during this century is frighteningly high. Reducing these risks should be the top global priority-but it isn't. Bringing together key scientific evidence and insight from the humanities, Toby Ord, University of Oxford professor and advisor to the World Bank, U.S. National Security Council, and other global organizations, provides novel tools and concrete strategies for making the largest possible difference in saving our species. The moral argument is simple: society has begun to value diversity across a wide array of genders, races, religions, and sexual orientations, and the Western world is beginning to see the injustice of devaluing those who live in distant countries as well. The next step is to recognize the equality of people distant from us in time-the millions of future generations that should follow our own. The value of many trillions of lives, billions of years of civilization, and untold heights of flourishing and achievement dramatically increases the stakes of existential risks. To destroy such a future would break the partnership across the generations that has raised the human project up to its current heights; it would betray the collective virtues of our civilization; and it might even eliminate the only part of the universe that will ever be capable of appreciating its wonders. Despite the daunting stakes we face, The Precipice resists doom and gloom: Ord's style and message are optimistic, and the book is animated by an inspiring vision of our vast potential.