Livestream Talk by Émile P. Torres – February 13, 2024

We’re All Gonna Die! Understanding the Origins and Evolution of the Idea of Human Extinction

Date: February 13, 2024 – 13:00-14:30 ET

Link to the livestream: click here

Émile P. Torres is a philosopher and historian whose work focuses on existential threats to humanity and civilization. They have published on a range of topics, from machine superintelligence to the ethical implications of human extinction, and are a contributing writer at Salon and Truthdig. Their most recent book is Human Extinction: A History of the Science and Ethics of Annihilation (Routledge, 2023). For more, visit their website at

In this talk, Émile Torres will give an overview of their new book, and will examine where our contemporary idea of human extinction came from, how it evolved over time, as well as the ethics of human extinction through to contemporary work on “existential risks.” Trevor Norris (Associate Director, PRI) will offer a response to the talk.


Book Description

Many leading intellectuals agree that the risk of human extinction this century may be higher than at any point in our 300,000-year history as a species. This book provides insight on the key questions that inform this discussion, including when humans began to worry about their own extinction and how the debate has changed over time. It establishes a new theoretical foundation for thinking about the ethics of our extinction, arguing that extinction would be very bad under most circumstances, although the outcome might be, on balance, good. Throughout the book, graphs, tables, and images further illustrate how human choices and attitudes about extinction have evolved in Western history. In its thorough examination of humanity’s past, this book also provides a starting point for understanding our future.

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