Anticipatory Governance for Preventing and Mitigating Catastrophic and Existential Risks




anticipatory governance, catastrophic risk, decision theory, existential risk, governance, long-termism, risk assessment


The world faces many large-scale risks. We describe these global catastrophic and existential risks and identify some challenges in governing the prevention and mitigation of such risks. We identify that risk reduction activity in Aotearoa New Zealand has not appropriately addressed these threats. On the basis of the challenges identified, we then deduce the desired features and functions of an entity for effectively governing risk reduction approaches. We argue for an entity that is: anticipatory, central/aggregating, coordinating, apolitical, transparent, adaptive and accountable. We offer structural options for such an entity and outline the merits of several options.


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Author Biographies

Matt Boyd, Adapt Research Ltd

Matt Boyd researches health, technology and catastrophic risk, has a PhD in philosophy, and is the owner of Adapt Research Ltd.

Nick Wilson, University of Otago

Nick Wilson is a research professor of public health at the University of Otago, Wellington.