53. Aspiration of people to establish a certain risk level acceptable to them

Everybody has different intuitions of what constitutes an acceptable risk. Someone may choose a safer car so that they can drive it a bit more dangerously. Some people may consider walking in a bad neighborhood at night an acceptable risk, others may dare it once in their life. Consider a sport or activity which has a risk of 1 in 100,000 of causing death for each time that it is practiced, say, skydiving. For most adventure-seeking human beings, this is considered an acceptable risk. When it comes to global risk, however, a 1 in 100,000 chance of doom per event would be unacceptable. If the event were a daily occurrence, over the course of a hundred years, the probability of extinction would approach 30 percent. That would be an unacceptable level of risk. So, our natural intuitions about “acceptable risk” may be too carefree when it comes to mitigating global risks.