29. Underestimating systemic factors of global risk
Systemic factors are not separate events, like the sudden appearance of a superviruses, but certain overall properties which concern an entire system. For instance, the conflict between the nature of exponentially growing modern civilization but a linearly increasing (or less) availability of material resources. The conflict is not localized in any one place, and does not depend on any one concrete resource or organization. Self-magnifying crisis situations which tend to involve a greater number of people over time do exist, but do not necessarily depend on human behavior and have no center. We are only beginning to understand the scope of these possible issues. Another example would be the Kessler syndrome, which states that as the amount of space junk increases, it will impact other space junk and eventually cause an unnavigable mess of obstacles to orbit the Earth, making space travel very difficult9. Though this is not a global risk, there may be other risks of this nature which we haven't foreseen yet.