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Our mission

Steering transformative technology towards benefitting life and away from extreme large-scale risks.

We believe that the way powerful technology is developed and used will be the most important factor in determining the prospects for the future of life. This is why we have made it our mission to ensure that technology continues to improve those prospects.

Our mission

Ensuring that our technology remains beneficial for life

Our mission is to steer transformative technologies away from extreme, large-scale risks and towards benefiting life.
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How certain technologies are developed and used has far-reaching consequences for all life on earth.

If properly managed, these technologies could change the world in a way that makes life substantially better, both for those alive today and those who will one day be born. They could be used to treat and eradicate diseases, strengthen democratic processes, mitigate - or even halt - climate change and restore biodiversity.

If irresponsibly managed, they could inflict serious harms on humanity and other animal species. In the most extreme cases, they could bring about the fragmentation or collapse of societies, and even push us to the brink of extinction.

The Future of Life Institute works to reduce the likelihood of these worst-case outcomes, and to help ensure that transformative technologies are used to the benefit of life.
Our mission

Cause areas

The risks we focus on

We are currently concerned by three major risks. They all hinge on the development, use and governance of transformative technologies. We focus our efforts on guiding the impacts of these technologies.

Artificial Intelligence

From recommender algorithms to chatbots to self-driving cars, AI is changing our lives. As the impact of this technology grows, so will the risks.
Artificial Intelligence

Biotechnology

From the accidental release of engineered pathogens to the backfiring of a gene-editing experiment, the dangers from biotechnology are too great for us to proceed blindly.
Biotechnology

Nuclear Weapons

Almost eighty years after their introduction, the risks posed by nuclear weapons are as high as ever - and new research reveals that the impacts are even worse than previously reckoned.
Nuclear Weapons
UAV Kargu autonomous drones at the campus of OSTIM Technopark in Ankara, Turkey - June 2020.

Our work

How we are addressing these issues

There are many potential levers of change for steering the development and use of transformative technologies. We target a range of these levers to increase our chances of success.

Policy

We perform policy advocacy in the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations.
Our Policy work

Outreach

We produce educational materials aimed at informing public discourse, as well as encouraging people to get involved.
Our Outreach work

Grantmaking

We provide grants to individuals and organisations working on projects that further our mission.
Our Grant Programs

Events

We convene leaders of the relevant fields to discuss ways of ensuring the safe development and use of powerful technologies.
Our Events

Featured Projects

What we're working on

Read about some of our current featured projects:

Ban Deepfakes

2024 is rapidly turning into the Year of Fake. As part of a growing coalition of concerned organizations, FLI is calling on lawmakers to take meaningful steps to disrupt the AI-driven deepfake supply chain.

The Elders Letter on Existential Threats

The Elders, the Future of Life Institute and a diverse range of preeminent public figures are calling on world leaders to urgently address the ongoing harms and escalating risks of the climate crisis, pandemics, nuclear weapons, and ungoverned AI.

Realising Aspirational Futures – New FLI Grants Opportunities

We are opening two new funding opportunities to support research into the ways that artificial intelligence can be harnessed safely to make the world a better place.

Mitigating the Risks of AI Integration in Nuclear Launch

Avoiding nuclear war is in the national security interest of all nations. We pursue a range of initiatives to reduce this risk. Our current focus is on mitigating the emerging risk of AI integration into nuclear command, control and communication.

Strengthening the European AI Act

Our key recommendations include broadening the Act’s scope to regulate general purpose systems and extending the definition of prohibited manipulation to include any type of manipulatory technique, and manipulation that causes societal harm.

Educating about Lethal Autonomous Weapons

Military AI applications are rapidly expanding. We develop educational materials about how certain narrow classes of AI-powered weapons can harm national security and destabilize civilization, notably weapons where kill decisions are fully delegated to algorithms.

Global AI governance at the UN

Our involvement with the UN's work spans several years and initiatives, including the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and the Global Digital Compact (GDC).

Worldbuilding Competition

The Future of Life Institute accepted entries from teams across the globe, to compete for a prize purse of up to $100,000 by designing visions of a plausible, aspirational future that includes strong artificial intelligence.

UK AI Safety Summit

On 1-2 November 2023, the United Kingdom convened the first ever global government meeting focussed on AI Safety. In the run-up to the summit, FLI produced and published a document outlining key recommendations.

Future of Life Award

Every year, the Future of Life Award is given to one or more unsung heroes who have made a significant contribution to preserving the future of life.
View all projects

newsletter

Regular updates about the technologies shaping our world

Every month, we bring 41,000+ subscribers the latest news on how emerging technologies are transforming our world. It includes a summary of major developments in our cause areas, and key updates on the work we do. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive these highlights at the end of each month.

Future of Life Institute Newsletter: The Year of Fake

Deepfakes are dominating headlines - with much more disruption expected, the Doomsday Clock has been set for 2024, AI governance updates, and more.
February 2, 2024

Future of Life Institute Newsletter: Wrapping Up Our Biggest Year Yet

A provisional agreement is reached on the EU AI Act, highlights from the past year, and more.
December 22, 2023

Future of Life Institute Newsletter: Save the EU AI Act 🇪🇺

Defending the EU AI Act against Big Tech lobbying, the 2023 Future of Life Award winners, our new partnership on hardware-backed AI governance, and more.
December 4, 2023
Read previous editions
Our content

Latest posts

The most recent posts we have published:

Disrupting the Deepfake Pipeline in Europe

Leveraging corporate criminal liability under the Violence Against Women Directive to safeguard against pornographic deepfake exploitation.
February 22, 2024

Open letter calling on world leaders to show long-view leadership on existential threats

The Elders, Future of Life Institute and a diverse range of co-signatories call on decision-makers to urgently address the ongoing impact and escalating risks of the climate crisis, pandemics, nuclear weapons, and ungoverned AI.
February 14, 2024

Realising Aspirational Futures – New FLI Grants Opportunities

Our Futures Program, launched in 2023, aims to guide humanity towards the beneficial outcomes made possible by transformative technologies. This year, as […]
February 14, 2024

Gradual AI Disempowerment

Could an AI takeover happen gradually?
February 1, 2024
View all posts

Policy papers

The most recent policy papers we have published:

FLI Response to OMB: Request for Comments on AI Governance, Innovation, and Risk Management

February 2024

FLI Response to NIST: Request for Information on NIST’s Assignments under the AI Executive Order

February 2024

FLI Response to Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS): Request for Comments on Implementation of Additional Export Controls

February 2024

Response to CISA Request for Information on Secure by Design AI Software

February 2024
View all policy papers

Future of Life Institute Podcast

The most recent podcasts we have broadcast:
View all episodes

Sign up for the Future of Life Institute newsletter

Join 40,000+ others receiving periodic updates on our work and cause areas.
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