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The Doomsday Calculation: Quantifying Future Risks

Many of the future risks that most concern us-from global nuclear war to catastrophic climate change to out-of-control artificial intelligence-have no precedent. In trying to evaluate such risks we cannot rely on statistics, human experience, or even a complete understanding of the underlying science. William Poundstone, author of The Doomsday Calculation, talks about the burgeoning and sometimes controversial use of Bayesian reasoning and indirect evidence to help quantify existential risks.

William Poundstone is the author of sixteen books, including Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?, Fortune's Formula, and How Would You Move Mount Fuji?. He has written for the New York Times, Harper's, Harvard Business Review, and the Village Voice, among other publications, and is a frequent guest on TV and radio. Born in Morgantown, West Virginia, Poundstone studied physics at MIT. His writing often explores the social implications of scientific or philosophic ideas-from voting methods, to competition and cooperation, to the gambling system known as the Kelly criterion. He is on the board of advisors of the Center for Election Science, and lives in Los Angeles.

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