Clarissa Rios Rojas made a statement on behalf of CSER at the Midterm Review Plenary 2: Beyond natural hazards – operationalising the expanded scope of the Sendai Framework during the UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Midterm Review Plenary 2: Beyond natural hazards – operationalising the expanded scope of the Sendai Framework
Dear colleagues, I am a researcher from Peru and I currently work at the University of Cambridge in the UK where I study how we can prevent risks that can make the whole of humanity collapse, these risks are known as existential risks. As a person from the global south, I know that we have other problems right now that need to be solved, and thinking about risks coming from Artificial intelligence or synthetic biology or genetic engineering for example is just too far away from our frontiers and they are not priorities right now. However, if we do not care now about these issues our voices will be absent when deciding on how to regulate these risks or how they will affect us.
Some days ago, Deepmind, a tech company developed GATO which is a single AI model that can perform 600 different tasks at the same time (from robotic control to text comprehension). For some scientists, this provides evidence that we are a step closer to developing Artificial General Intelligence and a step closer to risks associated with such advanced systems also known as super human-level AI. Still, other scientists disagree, and progress in this field is characterised by uncertainty. This is an example of how technology is far away ahead of policy regulation.
So, what can we do:
- We must remember that local threats somewhere else may become global shocks (just like covid) and these types of risks may become catastrophic, intergenerational and even existential. It is also a good practice of risk governance to consider the worst-case scenarios so communities can be better equipped to deal with risk. Please consider developing more simulation-based scenarios and foresight exercises to deal with uncertainty in future settings.
- The Biological Weapon Convention which is the global entity monitoring those bioweapons are not created … has only 3 staff members. Right now, they need your support for creating a Science and Technology Advisory Board that allows them to do their job more updated and accurate. Please talk with your delegations and ask them to support this initiative.
- Finally, strengthening Science-Policy interfaces could be one of the pathways to co-create better policies and research. See us as your allies because we see you as our mentors to test our policy ideas because you can tell us what is feasible and what can be done. Please count on our established Science-Policy interface expert group on Existential Risks to work with you if you are keen to. Thank you.