7 Facts About Global Catastrophic Risk


A global catastrophic risk is a hypothetical future event that has the potential to damage human well-being on a global scale.

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Some events could cripple or destroy modern civilization.

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Any event that could cause human extinction or permanently and drastically curtail humanity's potential is known as an existential risk.


Potential global catastrophic risks include anthropogenic risks and natural or external risks.


Examples of technology risks are hostile artificial intelligence, biotechnology risks, or nanotechnology weapons.

Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products, or "any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use".

Biotechnology risk is a form of existential risk that could come from biological sources, such as genetically engineered biological agents.

Nanotechnology is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale.


Insufficient global governance creates risks in the social and political domain as well as problems and risks in the domain of earth system governance.

Earth system governance is a recently developed paradigm that builds on earlier notions of environmental policy and nature conservation, but puts these into the broader context of human-induced transformations of the entire earth system.

Global governance or world governance is a movement towards political cooperation among transnational actors, aimed at negotiating responses to problems that affect more than one state or region.


Examples for non-anthropogenic risks are an asteroid impact event, a supervolcanic eruption, a lethal gamma-ray burst, a geomagnetic storm destroying all electronic equipment, natural long-term climate change, or extraterrestrial life impacting life on Earth.

A geomagnetic storm is a temporary disturbance of the Earth's magnetosphere caused by a solar wind shock wave and/or cloud of magnetic field that interacts with the Earth's magnetic field.

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time.

Extraterrestrial life, also called alien life, is life that does not originate from Earth.

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