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Nick Bostrom

Founding Director, Future of Humanity Institute

Nick Bostrom is Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and is author of the New York Times bestseller Superintelligence. He has long been concerned with the question: 'What should one do if one wants to have the greatest expected positive effect on the world?' This question led him from a young age on an intensive project of self-development. In an effort to think more systematically about leveraging impact, he has outlined a number of crucial considerations for our species, such as existential risk, the simulation argument, moral uncertainty, and the pivotal significance of artificial intelligence as an influence on the long term future.

He worked largely alone on these issues for a number of years. In 2003, he moved from Yale to Oxford where he met Toby Ord and Will MacAskill, who both co-founded Giving What We Can in 2009 (Nick helped to design the first logo!) and who went on to set up the Centre for Effective Altruism. The Future of Humanity Institute was founded in 2006, and has since been working in close collaboration with the effective altruist community.

For Nick it is exciting to see the movement growing and the potential that it holds; it makes him hopeful that one can change not only the application of altruism but also its amount, by creating a social framework that normalizes it. "We are social creatures," he says, "so the parts of our nature that come out depend a lot on the culture we’re embedded in."