Accumulating evidence using crowdsourcing and machine learning: A living bibliography about existential risk and global catastrophic risk
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Shackelford, G., Kemp, L., Rhodes, C., Sundaram, L., ÓhÉigeartaigh, S., Beard, S., Belfield, H., et al. (2020). Accumulating evidence using crowdsourcing and machine learning: A living bibliography about existential risk and global catastrophic risk. Futures, 116 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2019.102508
The study of existential risk—the risk of human extinction or the collapse of human civilization—has only recently emerged as an integrated field of research, and yet an overwhelming volume of relevant research has already been published. To provide an evidence base for policy and risk analysis, this research should be systematically reviewed. In a systematic review, one of many time-consuming tasks is to read the titles and abstracts of research publications, to see if they meet the inclusion criteria. We show how this task can be shared between multiple people (using crowdsourcing) and partially automated (using machine learning), as methods of handling an overwhelming volume of research. We used these methods to create The Existential Risk Research Assessment (TERRA), which is a living bibliography of relevant publications that gets updated each month (www.x-risk.net). We present the results from the first ten months of TERRA, in which 10,001 abstracts were screened by 51 participants. Several challenges need to be met before these methods can be used in systematic reviews. However, we suggest that collaborative and cumulative methods such as these will need to be used in systematic reviews as the volume of research increases.
This project was made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton World Charity Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton World Charity Foundation. Several of the authors were also supported by the David and Claudia Harding Foundation. We thank our funders, and we also thank Stuart Armstrong, Seth Baum, Sebastian Farquhar, Nancy Ockendon, Martin Rees, Jens Steffensen, Phil Torres, and all of the participants in TERRA.
Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF) (177155)
Casey & Family Foundation (via Cambridge in America) (unknown)
Matthew Wage (via Cambridge in America) (unknown)
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External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2019.102508
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/300915
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/