Jebari, Karim | 2015
Global catastrophic risk is a term that refers to the risk of the occurrence of an event that kills at least millions of people across several continents. While it has been argued by a number of scholars that one major potential risk comes from technology, the obscure nature of future technologies makes it difficult to utilize traditional probabilistic risk for the meaningful study of these risks. This article describes an alternative approach and applies it to a research program that has attracted a considerable amount of resources recently: namely longevity research. The aim of this research is to delay or reverse the ageing process. This article argues that this research program is much more risky or less beneficial than its proponents argue. In particular, they tend to underestimate the concerns associated with the potentially drastic population growth that longevity treatment could cause. The ethical benefit often ascribed to longevity treatment is that such treatment would add more subjective life-years that are worth living. However, in light of contemporary environmental problems, such an increase of the human population might be reckless. Drastically reducing fertility to reduce risks associated with environmental stress would make the benefits of such technology much less compelling.