When considering which problems are largest in scale, most important, and most neglected, it’s crucial to think not just of people alive today, but also of future generations. The lives of future generations are just as important as ours, but they don’t have the opportunity to influence the world into which they are born. Moreover, the number of humans that will exist in the future will likely outnumber the humans who have existed till now. This cause area focuses on global catastrophic risks associated with emerging technologies that have the potential to cause suffering on an astronomical scale to future generations.

It is extremely difficult to identify promising interventions in this cause area because it is not only highly complex and hence difficult to map, but also highly neglected compared to previously mentioned cause areas. The best we can do now is conduct research and raise awareness to ensure we minimise the the likelihood of global catastrophic risks becoming a reality.

We recommend the Machine Intelligence Research Institute and the Foundational Research Institute for their groundbreaking research into strategies to reduce catastrophic risks of human extinction and future suffering on astronomical scales.  

Machine Intelligence Research Institute

MIRI conducts foundational mathematical research to ensure smarter-than-human artificial intelligence has a positive impact. As more and more human cognitive feats come to be reproduced by artificially intelligent systems, we can expect to encounter a number of unprecedented risks and benefits. These and other under-explored questions will only become more pressing as progress in computer science allows AI systems to act with increasing autonomy and efficiency. Learn more.

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Foundational Research Institute

FRI explores how to reduce and avoid suffering by all sentient beings in the near and far future, leveraging their impact through essays and academic articles, and by advising individuals and policymakers. Their scope ranges from foundational questions about consciousness and ethics, to policy implications about AI safety, global cooperation, animal advocacy, and how to think about charity cost-effectiveness. Learn more.

Disclosure: The Foundational Research Institute (FRI) is a project incubated by the Effective Altruism Foundation, REG’s parent organization. We consult FRI in selecting our list of recommended charities. Because of this conflict of interest, we do not allocate unrestricted donations to FRI. Learn more

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Additional standout charities that are reducing risks from emerging technologies

In addition to the top recommendations, REG believes the following research organization to be highly cost-effective. It is not featured on the donation page, but if you want to donate please get in touch with us.


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