Humanity has seen improvements in quality of life over time resulting from advancing knowledge, economic growth, and stronger institutions, among others. These developments have also led to technologies that threaten the existence of future generations. We have long been aware of the dangers of nuclear weapons and climate change to the long-term future of humanity; however, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we are not prepared to tackle many of the greatest existential threats. Whether or not we address these and other risks will drastically affect the well-being of both present and future generations. Though our actions (and inactions) may have historically unique consequences for humans living hundreds or even thousands of years into the future, their rights and interests are rarely represented in current political and economic systems.
The University of Hamburg and the Legal Priorities Project are co-organizing the 2022 Multidisciplinary Forum on Longtermism and the Law on 9-11 June 2022. The guiding theme of this Forum is the role of law in sustaining and improving life hundreds or even thousands of years into the future. The Forum is planned as a hybrid event, with participants unable to attend in person at the University of Hamburg having the option of presenting virtually.
They invite proposals for papers from researchers of various disciplines to be presented at the Forum. Participants are encouraged to consult the research agenda of the Legal Priorities Project on the foundations of legal longtermism and promising research avenues. Of particular interest are submissions that address legal mechanisms to protect future generations or engage with the regulation of existential risk, either in general or as a result of advanced artificial intelligence, runaway climate change, synthetic biology, and pandemics. We welcome and highly encourage submissions that consider creative ways to tackle issues on the theme of Longtermism and the Law.