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a SERI video series

Destroying the Iron House

Destroying The Iron House

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Chinese writer Lu Xun created the metaphor of the iron house:

"Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fast asleep inside who will soon die of suffocation. But you know since they will die in their sleep, they will not feel the pain of death. Now if you cry aloud to wake a few of the lighter sleepers, making those unfortunate few suffer the agony of irrevocable death, do you think you are doing them a good turn?" 

"But if a few awake, you can't say there is no hope of destroying the iron house."

Destroying the Iron House is a project conceived by Eric Heng, a research assistant with SERI, to create easily accessible media regarding existential risk research. In his search, he interviews experts of all backgrounds and viewpoints to learn more about existential risks, from climate change, to pandemics, nuclear proliferation, to AI. Existential risk research is a lot like the iron house - it is painful to rouse people to an inconvenient truth, yet it is only with the support of many that we can successfully combat existential risks.

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episode 1

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