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Urgent longtermism is the position that now is an unusually good time to have an outsized impact on the future (i.e., the hinge of history hypothesis). In particular, it claims that the current time is particularly pivotal and that we have some scope to change what happens. Ben Todd creates a distinction between two kinds of urgent longtermism: broad and targeted. 

Broad urgent longtermism posits that we are in a pivotal time, and have influence over the future, but may not be sure what the specific influential events in this time are. Toby Ord advocates for this position in The Precipice. A broad longtermist might focus on reducing existential risk factors like great power conflict. 

Targeted urgent longtermism presumes that we know what the specific influential moments are. Within targeted urgent longtermism there are two main tracks: reducing specific existential risks and creating other path or trajectory changes. 


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Posts tagged Urgent Longtermism