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With rapid globalization and technological innovation have come profound new risks not just to individuals and countries, but to humanity's survival.

Meeting this challenge will require a radical reorientation in our thinking – seeing our generation as a small part of a much greater whole; a story that spans the eons. 

We will thus need to adopt not merely a global perspective, of everyone alive today, but the perspective of humanity itself – the hundred billion people who came before us, the nearly eight billion alive today, and the countless generations yet to be born. 

By adopting this ethical lens, we will have a better view of our crucial role in the larger story of our species.

Because the greatest risks are not from nature, but from our own action, we can pull back from the brink if we choose.

Toby Ord Project Syndicate 30 October 2020


Toby Ord, a senior research fellow in philosophy at the University of Oxford, is the author of The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020).

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