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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 four major risks. All four 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 self-driving cars, AI is changing our lives. As the impact of this technology magnifies, so will its risks.
Artificial Intelligence


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.

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
white and black electric cable

Climate Change

Likely the most well-known of our cause areas, climate change increases the likelihood of other catastrophic risks, such as pandemics or war, as well as posing many catastrophic threats on its own.
Climate Change

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.


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


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


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


We convene leaders of the relevant fields to discuss ways of ensuring the safe development and use of powerful technologies.
Our Events
UAV Kargu autonomous drones at the campus of OSTIM Technopark in Ankara, Turkey. June 2020


What we're working on

Read about some of our ongoing projects:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Strengthening the NIST AI Risk Management Framework

Our feedback on the first draft of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) AI risk management framework addressed extreme and unacceptable risks, loyalty of AI systems and the risk management of general purpose systems.

Future of Life Institute Podcast

A podcast dedicated to hosting conversations with some of the world's leading thinkers and doers in the field of emerging technology and risk reduction. 140+ episodes since 2015, 4.8/5 stars on Apple Podcasts.

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.

External Input

Meet our External Advisors

We consult a range of scientific experts and communicators across our cause areas to ensure our approach is well-informed, strategic and adaptable.

Alan Alda

Actor, Writer, Director & Science Communicator

Alan Guth

Professor of Physics, MIT

Christof Koch

Chief Scientific Officer, Allen Institute for Brain Science

Elon Musk

Founder, SpaceX and Tesla Motors

Erik Brynjolfsson

Director, MIT Center for Digital Business, MIT

Francesca Rossi

IBM Research and University of Padova

Frank Wilczek

Professor of Physics, MIT

George Church

Professor of Genetics, Harvard University

Martin Rees

Astronomer Royal, Co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk

Morgan Freeman

Actor, Director, Narrator & Science Communicator

Sandra Faber

Professor Emerita of Astronomy and Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz

Saul Perlmutter

Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley

Stuart Russell

Professor of Computer Science, UC Berkeley

Our newsletter

Regular updates about the Future of Life Institute, in your inbox

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Read previous editions

Future of Life Institute February 2023 Newsletter: Progress on Autonomous Weapons!

Welcome to the Future of Life Institute newsletter. Every month, we bring 24,000+ subscribers the latest news on how emerging […]
March 1, 2023

FLI November 2022 Newsletter: AI Liability Directive

Welcome to the Future of Life Institute Newsletter. Every month, we bring 24,000+ subscribers the latest news on how emerging technologies are transforming our […]
December 9, 2022

Media mentions

Our content

Latest posts

Here is the most recent content we have published:

FAQs about FLI’s Open Letter Calling for a Pause on Giant AI Experiments 

Disclaimer: Please note that these FAQ’s have been prepared by FLI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the […]
March 31, 2023

Future of Life Institute Newsletter: Pause Giant AI Experiments!

Welcome to the Future of Life Institute newsletter. Every month, we bring 25,000+ subscribers the latest news on how emerging […]
March 31, 2023

Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter

We call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.
March 22, 2023
pile of printing papers

AI policy resources (archived)

Summaries of AI Policy Resources The resources below include papers, reports, and articles relevant to AI policy debates. They are […]
March 21, 2023

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