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Cascading Polycrisis Showdown 2040

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Call for Participation in ‘Cascading Polycrisis Showdown 2040’–a role play-based scenario exercise!

Stanford researchers are looking for 25 individuals in good health aged 18-70 to take part in a world-first 7-hour live, role-play enhanced scenario exercise where each hour simulates a day, for a total of “7 days of crisis”. 

The interaction facilitated between red teams, blue teams, experts in technology and politics, and media teams, available analytics, and the location, a multimedia-supported crisis communications facility, ensure the event transcends a conventional tabletop scenario exercise. The scenario centers around a set of interacting, cascading risks of runaway AI, a severe pandemic, climate collapse, world war, and ensuing stock market collapse, imagined to be happening within days of each other in 2040 that would cause the worst depression in history and, if left unmitigated, threaten the survival of humanity (see Cascading Risks scenario videos). The event will be live-streamed and will take place at Stanford’s newly minted, state of the art Emergency Operations Center

If interested, apply to join one of the core teams that will constitute the core of the exercise: communication, climate, economy, health, logistics, engineering, media, risk modeling, psychologists, military/law enforcement, and technology. People with current or past senior advisory or executive roles in government, law enforcement, business or healthcare are especially encouraged to apply. 

A few sleeping mats as well as field rations of food will be provided to each of the teams to simulate shift work in a real disaster scenario. Participants make their own travel arrangements but once the exercise starts you will be under “quarantine” and cannot leave. 

Pre-reading material will include scientific articles about existential risk, mitigation and survival, scenarios, and detailed instructions for the exercise itself. Participants need to bring their own laptops. Cell phones will be collected at the outset, as the exercise will assume cell towers are down. Individual phone lines will be provided to all participants to coordinate outreach and on-the-fly planning. 

The role play exercise will consist of pre-recorded news broadcasts, live “staff” briefings, action team breakouts, and moderated discussions on specific topics. These issues were carefully designed in a compelling narrative that aims to inspire, equip, and educate the participants and the audience to act, create, improvise, collaborate, deal, and empathize with the affected people, regions, and professions.

Deadline: 1 August. Include your full name, email, LinkedIn profile, and a paragraph pitch for why you should join and what functions you’d like to perform (communication, climate, health, logistics, economics, engineering, media, risk modeling, psychologists, military/law enforcement, and technology) in ranked order of preference. 

You do not need prior disaster experience to contribute. Current students are welcome. To apply to join or cover the event, or for more information, contact Trond Arne Undheim, Ph.D, Research Scholar in Global Systemic Risk, Innovation, and Policy, Stanford Existential Risk Initiative (SERI), Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University, 

The event is co-hosted by Christopher Godley, CEM, Director of Emergency Management, Stanford University, Office of Emergency Management.