Complexity, creeping normalcy and conceit: sexy and unsexy catastrophic risks

Karin Kuhlemann
2019 Foresight  
This paper considers a few cognitive and conceptual obstacles to scholarly and public engagement with global catastrophic risks (GCRs). It starts by considering cognitive biases that affect general thinking about GCRs, before questioning whether existential risks really are dramatically more pressing than other GCRs. It then sets out a novel typology of GCRs, whereby it is proposed that many risks commonly regarded as existential are "sexy" risks, while certain other global catastrophic risks
more » ... atastrophic risks are comparatively "unsexy". In addition, it is suggested that a combination of complexity, cognitive biases and a hubris-laden failure of imagination leads us to neglect the most unsexy and pervasive of all global catastrophic risks: human overpopulation. The paper concludes with a tentative conceptualisation of overpopulation as a pattern of risking.
doi:10.1108/fs-05-2018-0047 fatcat:c3fdankyqba4nkron4ydpxsw2q