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The Precipice


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About the Author

Toby Ord is a philosopher at Oxford University, working on the big picture questions facing humanity. His earlier work explored the ethics of global poverty, leading him to make a lifelong pledge to donate 10% of his income to the most effective charities helping improve the world. He created a society, Giving What We Can, for people to join this mission, and together its members have pledged over $1.5 billion. He then broadened these ideas by co-founding the Effective Altruism movement in which thousands of people are using reason and evidence to help the lives of others as much as possible. His current research is on risks that threaten human extinction or the permanent collapse of civilization, and on how to safeguard humanity through these dangers, which he considers to be among the most pressing and neglected issues we face. Toby has advised the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the US National Intelligence Council, and the UK Prime Minister's Office.


"The Precipice is a fascinating book, one that showcases both the knowledge of its author and his humanity."--Bryan Walsh, Axios

"The Precipice may be the Silent Spring that the futurists have been waiting for."--Los Angeles Review of Books

"The Precipice separates science from hype and will remain the definitive work on existential risk for a long time to come."--Max Tegmark, author of Life 3.0 and Our Mathematical Universe

"A book that seems made for the present moment."--New Yorker

"A fascinating and persuasive guide to the most important topic of all: how our species will survive the risks we pose to our continued existence."--Stuart Russell, author of Human Compatible and Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach

"A powerfully-argued book that alerts us to what is perhaps the most important-and yet also most neglected-problem we will ever face."--Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation and The Life You Can Save

"Many people have recently found that they want to read books offering the grandest perspectives possible on human existence, such as Sapiens . . . Toby Ord's new book is a startling and rigorous contribution to this genre that deserves to be just as widely read."--Evening Standard

"Ord's analysis of the science is exemplary . . . Thrillingly written"--Sunday Times

"Ord's map of the existential risk landscape is an engaging read for anyone who wants to learn more about this important and interdisciplinary research."--Science

"Splendid....The Precipice is a powerful book, written with a philosopher's eye for counterarguments so that he can meet them in advance. And Ord's love for humanity and hope for its future is infectious, as is his horrified wonder at how close we have come to destroying it."--The Spectator

"This book is a wake-up call to the existential threats of nuclear and biological weapons and the urgent need for action. A must-read that galvanizes us to play a role in addressing these risks."
--Angela Kane, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

"Toby Ord is today's Carl Sagan. Clear and inspiring, this book leaves us hopeful for a flourishing human future."--Christine Peterson, co-founder of the Foresight Institute

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