Academic Publications

Non-technical summaries are available for most of the longer papers.

Seth D. Baum. On the promotion of safe and socially beneficial artificial intelligence. AI & Society, forthcoming, doi 10.1007/s00146-016-0677-0.
How to motivate AI researchers to choose socially beneficial designs, with emphasis on the social psychology of AI researchers.

Anthony M. Barrett and Seth D. Baum. Risk analysis and risk management for the artificial superintelligence research and development process. In James Miller, Vic Callaghan, Roman Yampolskiy, and Stuart Armstrong (editors), The Technological Singularity: Managing the Journey. Berlin: Springer, forthcoming. [Tentative citation information - publication still being finalized as of 26 August 2015]
Established methodologies from risk analysis and risk management can help avoid catastrophe from future advanced AI.

Seth D. Baum and Anthony M. Barrett. The most extreme risks: Global catastrophes. In Vicki Bier (editor), The Gower Handbook of Extreme Risk. Farnham, UK: Gower, forthcoming.
Global catastrophic risks are important but challenging to analyze, suggesting an integrated assessment research agenda.

Anthony M. Barrett and Seth D. Baum, 2017. A model of pathways to artificial superintelligence catastrophe for risk and decision analysis. Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, vol. 29, no. 2, pages 397-414.
Introduces the ASI-PATH model of catastrophe from recursively self-improving AI.

Seth D. Baum, 2016. The ethics of outer space: A consequentialist perspective. In James S.J. Schwartz and Tony Milligan (editors), The Ethics of Space Exploration. Berlin: Springer, pages 109-123.
Outer space offers vast opportunities to do good by humanity or by extraterrestrial civilizations.

Seth D. Baum, David C. Denkenberger, and Joshua M. Pearce, 2016. Alternative foods as a solution to to global food supply catastrophes. Solutions, vol. 7, no. 4, pages 31-35.
If a global catastrophe knocks out traditional agricultural, then non-traditional, alternative forms of agriculture could be used.

Seth D. Baum and Bruce E. Tonn (Editors), 2015. Confronting future catastrophic threats to humanity [Special issue]. Futures, vol. 72 (September), pages 1-96.
A special issue of the journal Futures.

Seth D. Baum and Bruce E. Tonn, 2015. Introduction: Confronting future catastrophic threats to humanity. Futures, vol. 72 (September), pages 1-3.
Introductory editorial to a special issue of the journal Futures.

Seth D. Baum, David C. Denkenberger, and Jacob Haqq-Misra, 2015. Isolated refuges for surviving global catastrophes. Futures, vol. 72 (September), pages 45-56.
Refuges could help small populations survive global catastrophes if certain refuge design criteria are met.

Seth D. Baum, 2015. Confronting the threat of nuclear winter. Futures, vol. 72 (September), pages 69-79.
Many actions could reduce the probability or severity of the global environmental consequences of nuclear war.

Seth D. Baum, 2015. The far future argument for confronting catastrophic threats to humanity: Practical significance and alternatives. Futures, vol. 72 (September), pages 86-96.
A lot can be done to prevent major global catastrophes without appealing to the benefits that would go to people living thousands, millions, or billions of years in the future.

Seth D. Baum, 2015. Winter-safe deterrence as a practical contribution to reducing nuclear winter risk: A reply. Contemporary Security Policy, vol. 36, no. 2 (August), pages 387-397.
Part of a symposium on the concept of winter-safe deterrence.

Seth D. Baum, David C. Denkenberger, Joshua M. Pearce, Alan Robock, and Richelle Winkler, 2015. Resilience to global food supply catastrophes. Environment, Systems, and Decisions, vol. 35, no. 2 (June), pages 301-313.
If a global catastrophe devastates global food production, several options could keep human civilization alive and well.

Seth D. Baum, 2015. Risk and resilience for unknown, unquantifiable, systemic, and unlikely/catastrophic threats. Environment, Systems, and Decisions, vol. 35, no. 2 (June), pages 229-236.
A comparison of two major paradigms for analyzing and managing uncertain threats.

Seth D. Baum, 2015. Winter-safe deterrence: The risk of nuclear winter and its challenge to deterrence. Contemporary Security Policy, vol. 36, no. 1 (April), pages 123-148.
The possibility of global catastrophe from nuclear war suggests major revisions to the weapons used to discourage war.
Click here to view the extensive debate sparked by this paper.

Seth D. Baum, 2014. Film review: Snowpiercer. Journal of Sustainability Education, vol. 7, December issue (online). pdf version
A discussion of sustainability, resource management, and geoengineering themes in the film.

Seth D. Baum, 2014. The great downside dilemma for risky emerging technologies. Physica Scripta, vol. 89, no. 12 (December), article 128004, doi:10.1088/0031-8949/89/12/128004.
Decisions about whether to develop technologies that promise great benefits to humanity but come with a risk of human civilization being destroyed.

Seth D. Baum and Itsuki C. Handoh, 2014. Integrating the planetary boundaries and global catastrophic risk paradigms. Ecological Economics, vol. 107 (November), pages 13-21.
A framework for analyzing global threats to humanity and nature, illustrated with the case of the phosphorus biogeochemical cycle.

Seth D. Baum, 2014 Book review: Only One Chance: How Environmental Pollution Impairs Brain Development and How to Protect the Brains of the Next Generation (pdf). Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 42 (October), pages 197-199.
A review of a new book by Philippe Grandjean discussing neurotoxic chemical pollution.

Seth D. Baum, 2014. Film review: Transcendence. Journal of Evolution and Technology, vol. 24, no. 2 (September), pages 79-84. pdf version
A discussion of transhumanism, ethics, and risk management themes in the film.

Seth D. Baum and Grant S. Wilson, 2013. The ethics of global catastrophic risk from dual-use bioengineering. Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine, vol. 4, no. 1, pages 59-72.
A discussion of ethical and legal issues arising from bioengineered technologies that could benefit humanity or pose risk of a global catastrophe.

Anthony M. Barrett, Seth D. Baum, and Kelly R. Hostetler, 2013. Analyzing and reducing the risks of inadvertent nuclear war between the United States and Russia. Science and Global Security, vol. 21, no. 2, pages 106-133.
An analysis of the possibility that the US or Russia could mistakenly conclude it is under attack and launch nuclear weapons in what it believes to be a counterattack.

Timothy M. Maher Jr. and Seth D. Baum, 2013. Adaptation to and recovery from global catastrophe. Sustainability, vol. 5, no. 4 (April), pages 1461-1479.
Human survivors of a global catastrophe may be able to adapt to post-catastrophe conditions and recover civilization.

Seth D. Baum, Timothy M. Maher, Jr., and Jacob Haqq-Misra, 2013. Double catastrophe: Intermittent stratospheric geoengineering induced by societal collapse. Environment, Systems and Decisions, vol. 33, no. 1 (March), pages 168-180.
A global catastrophe scenario involving climate change, geoengineering, and a separate catastrophe.

Jacob Haqq-Misra, Michael W. Busch, Sanjoy M. Som, and Seth D. Baum, 2013. The benefits and harms of transmitting into space. Space Policy, vol. 29, no. 1 (February), pages 40-48.
Radio transmissions from Earth to space are analyzed in terms of their imact on Earth and humanity.

Seth D. Baum, 2013. Teaching astrobiology in a sustainability course. Journal of Sustainability Education, February issue (online).
Considering life in the universe gives undergraduates a broader perspective on sustainability.

Seth D. Baum, 2012. Value typology in cost-benefit analysis. Environmental Values, vol. 21, no. 4 (November), pages 499-524.
Exploring the types of values held by costs and benefits strengthens our understanding of existing CBAs and suggests new innovations in CBA design.

Seth D. Baum, Destiny D. Aman, Andrei L. Israel, 2012. Public scholarship student projects for introductory environmental courses. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, vol. 36, no. 3 (August), pages 403-419.
A project for undergraduates to engage environmental issues as educated citizens of a democracy.

Seth D. Baum, Jacob D. Haqq-Misra, and Chris Karmosky, 2012. Climate change: Evidence of human causes and arguments for emissions reduction. Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 18, no. 2 (June), pages 393-410.
A response to skepticism about climate change as part of a broader review of climate change science and ethics.

Seth D. Baum, 2012. Discounting Across Space and Time in Climate Change Assessment. Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation, Department of Geography, The Pennsylvania State University.
New development of the concept of space-time discounting including ethics theory, moral psychology survey research, and applications to climate change adaptation.

Erich W. Schienke, Seth D. Baum, Nancy Tuana, Ken J. Davis, and Klaus Keller, 2011. Intrinsic ethics regarding integrated assessment models for climate management. Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 17, no. 3 (September), pages 503-523.
An argument for teaching ethical issues found within the content of research, and an example of how to teach this based on climate management research.

Seth D. Baum, Jacob D. Haqq-Misra, and Shawn D. Domagal-Goldman, 2011. Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis. Acta Astronautica, vol. 68, no. 11-12 (June-July), pages 2114-2129.
An analysis of a broad range of possible contact scenarios in terms of their impact on humanity.
Click here to view this paper's extensive media coverage.

Seth D. Baum, Ben Goertzel, and Ted G. Goertzel, 2011. How long until human-level AI? Results from an expert assessment. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, vol. 78, no. 1 (January), pages 185-195.
Experts on artificial general intelligence provide estimates for the future of AGI.

Seth D. Baum and James E. Thatcher, 2010. Film review: Inception. Journal of Evolution and Technology, vol. 21, no. 1 (July), pages 62-66. pdf version
A discussion of epistemology, structure, psychoanalysis, and ethics themes in the film.

Seth D. Baum and William E. Easterling, 2010. Space-time discounting in climate change adaptation. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, vol. 15, no. 6 (August), pages 591-609.
New theory showing that costs and benefits should be discounted across space as well as time is applied to three cases of how humans adapt to climate change.

Seth D. Baum, 2010. Is humanity doomed? Insights from astrobiology. Sustainability, vol. 2, no. 2 (February), pages 591-603.
A discussion of several connections between astrobiology (life in the universe) and sustainability: limits to where and when life can exist, observations of extraterrestrials, and the fate of Earth and the universe.

Seth D. Baum, 2010. Universalist ethics in extraterrestrial encounter. Acta Astronautica, vol. 66, no. 3-4 (February-March), pages 617-623.
If humanity encounters an extraterrestrial civilization, then the outcome can depend on the ethics of each civilization.

Seth D. Baum, 2009. Film review: District 9. Journal of Evolution and Technology, vol. 20, no. 2 (December), pages 86-89. pdf version
A discussion of transhumanism, ethics, and astrobiology themes in the film.

Erich W. Schienke, Nancy Tuana, Donald A. Brown, Kenneth J. Davis, Klaus Keller, James S. Shortle, Michelle Stickler, and Seth D. Baum, 2009. The role of the NSF Broader Impacts Criterion in enhancing research ethics pedagogy. Social Epistemology, vol. 23, no. 3-4 (July-December), pages 317-336.
An argument for teaching ethical issues in how research impacts the rest of the world.

Seth D. Baum, 2009. Description, prescription and the choice of discount rates. Ecological Economics, vol. 69, no. 1 (15 November), pages 197-205.
An analysis of ethical judgments in descriptions of how society discounts, including which individuals are included in "society", how their discounting is described, and how the individual descriptions are aggregated.

Seth D. Baum, 2009. Cost-benefit analysis of space exploration: Some ethical considerations. Space Policy, vol. 25, no. 2 (May), pages 75-80.
Space exploration CBA raises some important ethical issues related to how costs and benefits are defined and counted, including costs and benefits to future humans and to extraterrestrials

Jacob D. Haqq-Misra and Seth D. Baum, 2009. The 'Sustainability Solution' to the Fermi Paradox. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, vol. 62, no. 2 (February), pages 47-51.
The challenges of sustainability may explain the paradox of why we have never observed an extraterrestrial civilization.

Colin Hunt and Seth Baum, 2009. The 'Hidden' Social Costs of Forestry Offsets. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, vol. 14, no. 2 (February), pages 107-120.
An evaluation of carbon offsets in forestry accounting for the (commonly-neglected) amount of time it takes trees to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Seth D. Baum, 2009. Book review: Global Catastrophic Risks (pdf). Risk Analysis, vol. 29, no. 1 (January), pages 155-156.
A review of an edited volume discussing a broad range of GCRs and related issues.

Seth D. Baum, 2008. Better to exist: A reply to Benatar (pdf). Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 34, no. 12 (December), pages 875-876.
An analysis and rejection of David Benatar's argument that we should not bring new humans into existence.

Seth Baum, 2007. Beyond the Ramsey model for climate change assessments. Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, vol. 2007, pages 15-21.
A critique of the Ramsey model used in the "economics" of climate change, and proposals for improved models.

Seth Baum, 2006. Response to Quality Science Teachers: Essential to America's Future (pdf). The Science Teacher, December, pages 8-9. Reprinted in Journal of College Science Teaching, vol. 36, no. 4 (January/February), 2007, pages 6-7.
A critique of NSTA President Linda Froschauer's nationalist arguments for improving science education.

Seth Baum, 2006. User and Developer Interface Improvements to a Finite Difference Time Domain Code. Masters Thesis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University. Available at
Enhancements to an electromagnetic wave propagation simulation package making it easier to use and modify.

Created 15 Jun 2007 * Updated 20 Feb 2017