Talks to explore threats to intelligent life
Free Cal Lutheran event looks at technology’s impact
Nick Bostrom
Nick Bostrom

THOUSAND OAKS, CA - An award-winning philosopher will discuss threats to the survival of intelligent life on Earth and the possibility of machine intelligence surpassing biological intelligence in two free lectures at California Lutheran University on Tuesday, Feb. 17.

Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford will explore “Technology and the Future” during the event in Samuelson Chapel marking the 30th anniversary of the Harold Stoner Clark Lectures. He will present “Technology Strategy and Existential Risks” at 11:10 a.m. and “Superintelligence” at 4 p.m.

Bostrom will show how the concept of existential risk provides a focusing lens for long-term, global technology strategy. Existential risks are those that threaten to destroy intelligent life on Earth or its potential for desirable development. Figuring out how to reduce existential risk is very difficult, he explains.

He will also delve into superintelligence and the new era that will begin if and when machine intelligence surpasses biological intelligence. He will discuss the difficult challenges presented by the transition to an era of superintelligence, the last invention humanity will ever need to make.

Bostrom is a professor of philosophy and the director of the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology at Oxford. He is the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute, a multidisciplinary research center that enables a few exceptional mathematicians, philosophers and scientists to think carefully about global priorities and big questions for humanity. He has a background in physics, computational neuroscience, mathematical logic and philosophy.

He is the author of about 200 publications. These include the 2008 book “Global Catastrophic Risks” and “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies,” which was released last year. His writings have been translated into 24 languages.

Bostrom is a recipient of the Eugene R. Gannon Award, for which one person is selected annually worldwide from the fields of philosophy, mathematics, humanities and natural sciences. He has been listed in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers and Prospect Magazine’s World Thinkers list.

The late Harold Stoner Clark endowed the free lecture series, requesting that presentations address his dual interests of science and philosophy. Cal Lutheran’s Department of Philosophy sponsors the talks.

The chapel is located at 165 Chapel Lane in Thousand Oaks. For more information, contact Nathan Tierney at 805-493-3232 or