Reducing long-term risks from malevolent actors


  • Dictators who exhibited highly narcissistic, psychopathic, or sadistic traits were involved in some of the greatest catastrophes in human history.
  •  Malevolent individuals in positions of power could negatively affect humanity’s long-term trajectory by, for example, exacerbating international conflict or other broad risk factors.
  • Malevolent humans with access to advanced technology—such as whole brain emulation or other forms of transformative AI—could cause serious existential risks and suffering risks.
  • We therefore consider interventions to reduce the expected influence of malevolent humans on the long-term future.
  • The development of manipulation-proof measures of malevolence seems valuable, since they could be used to screen for malevolent humans in high-impact settings, such as heads of government or CEOs.
  • We also explore possible future technologies that may offer unprecedented leverage to mitigate against malevolent traits.
  • Selecting against psychopathic and sadistic tendencies in genetically enhanced, highly intelligent humans might be particularly important. However, risks of unintended negative consequences must be handled with extreme caution.
  • We argue that further work on reducing malevolence would be valuable from many moral perspectives and constitutes a promising focus area for longtermist EAs.

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