The GiveWell Blog

Differential technological development: Some early thinking

Note: this post aims to help a particular subset of our audience understand the assumptions behind our work on science philanthropy and global catastrophic risks. Throughout, “we” refers to positions taken by the Open Philanthropy Project as an entity rather than to a consensus of all staff. Two priorities for the Open Philanthropy Project are… Read More

Coming down to earth: What if a big geomagnetic storm does hit?

This is the fourth post in a series about geomagnetic storms as a global catastrophic risk. A paper covering the material in this series was recently released. I devoted the first three posts in this series to describing geomagnetic storms and assessing the odds that a Big One is coming. I concluded that the iconic Carrington… Read More

The long-term significance of reducing global catastrophic risks

Note: this post aims to help a particular subset of our audience understand the assumptions behind our work on global catastrophic risks. One focus area for the Open Philanthropy Project is reducing global catastrophic risks (such as from pandemics, potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence, geoengineering, and geomagnetic storms). A major reason that the Open… Read More

Geomagnetic storms: Using extreme value theory to gauge the risk

This is the third post in a series about geomagnetic storms as a global catastrophic risk. A paper covering the material in this series was just released. My last post examined the strength of certain major geomagnetic storms that occurred before the advent of the modern electrical grid, as well as a solar event in 2012 that could have caused… Read More

Geomagnetic storms: History’s surprising, if tentative, reassurance

This is the second post in a series about geomagnetic storms as a global catastrophic risk. A paper covering the material in this series was just released. My last post raised the specter of a geomagnetic storm so strong it would black out electric power across continent-scale regions for months or years, triggering an economic and humanitarian disaster…. Read More

Geomagnetic storms: An introduction to the risk

This is the first post in a series about geomagnetic storms as a global catastrophic risk. A paper covering the material in this series was recently released. The Open Philanthropy Project has included geomagnetic storms in its list of global catastrophic risks of potential focus. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of them either. But… Read More