Black Elephants (CCCR2018)

Video by Peter Ho
Published on 17 April 2019

Peter Ho is the Senior Advisor to the Centre for Strategic Futures, a Senior Fellow in the Civil Service College, and a Visiting Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He was previously Head of the Singaporean Civil Service.

Mr Ho argued that we face many big dangers, with many of them hiding in plain view. But few are aware of the risks that they pose, and even fewer will take action to mitigate them. The reasons why are centred on our cognitive biases or blind spots. Risk is ultimately a social construct. As a social construct, understanding what that risk is, agreeing on the degree of risk, and then communicating that risk to the organisation and its people is essential.

This talk was given at 2018’s Cambridge Conference on Catastrophic Risk (CCCR2018), the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk’s major international conference, supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. It focused on four challenges faced by research communities focused on existential and global catastrophic risk research: Challenges of Evaluation and Impact; Challenges of Evidence; Challenges of Scope and Focus; and Challenges in Communication.

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