How Unlikely is a Doomsday Catastrophe?
Tegmark (Max) & Bostrom (Nick)
Source: This paper is an extended version of the Brief Communication published in Nature, 438, 754
Paper - Abstract

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Authors’ Abstract

  1. Numerous Earth-destroying doomsday scenarios have recently been analyzed, including breakdown of a metastable vacuum state and planetary destruction triggered by a “strangelet” or microscopic black hole.
  2. We point out that many previous bounds on their frequency give a false sense of security: one cannot infer that such events are rare from the fact that Earth has survived for so long, because observers are by definition in places lucky enough to have avoided destruction.
  3. We derive a new upper bound of one per 109 years (99.9% c.l.) on the exogenous terminal catastrophe rate that is free of such selection bias, using planetary age distributions and the relatively late formation time of Earth.


For the full text, see Tegmark & Bostrom - How Unlikely is a Doomsday Catastrophe?.

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