In which field of academia should one search for studies about how to improve human civilizations' ability to anticipate and react to incoming hurdles to long term survival?


Many problems can be avoided altogether if predicted with enough anticipation, and most problems are much easier to solve when efforts are engaged early, and more difficult or impossible to solve if waiting for the last moment.


Many of the interdependent hurdles currently facing humanity (massive extinctions and collapse of biodiversity, extraction debit peaks of most fossil energies on which the current human civilizations are dependent, triggering and acceleration of inexorable climate drift, generalized civil unrest and derive toward authoritarian governments, etc.) were predicted before with a relative precision (about the conditions if not the timing), but largely ignored. Among other examples, the most iconic might be the report to the club of Rome from 1972, which content was mostly ignored for 50 years, even though its content was updated and its accuracy measured every 10 years or so.


  • Among the various governing structures adopted or imagined by human civilizations in history and fiction, which ones have been or would be more apt to anticipate and react to incoming hurdles?
  • Among the formations given to future citizens, citizens, and administrators, which exercises could promote the ability to anticipate and properly react to incoming hurdles?

I asked some people working in sociology, and they seem to consider such topics as beyond their area of study?

  • fhi.ox.ac.uk Jul 11 at 3:15
  • I am not sure if the way of your thinking is strictly scientific, but I would recommend you to ask experts from Future and Humanity Institute as linked above by Daniel R. Collins.
    – Juandev
    Aug 6 at 10:45

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I don't actually have any experience with this. I don't deal in these questions in my day to day. I just think this is interesting.

I think you are looking for future studies. Really though, I would guess that these questions are not limited to one field. That is, any researcher in any field could investigate this through the lens of their own expertise if they were interested. If you're looking for specific studies, you probably want to check out interdisciplinary think-tank type groups. I know I've seen a few popular science books related to this general topic, but I don't know what they publish in terms of peer-reviewed papers - you'd have to do some digging.

You might start with the institute linked in the comments. You can also check out Future of Life Institute or Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.

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