58. Weariness of researchers

The enthusiasm of people moves in waves. Someone who sends out a certain warning or bulletin may grow weary of sending out the same message after a few years. This may cause others to think that the risk has passed, although it persists. This is what has happened with regard to the risk of nanotechnological arms race since the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) lapsed into inactivity around the year 2010. The researchers who work on global risk topics may never receive gratitude or see any immediate benefits of their work. Only in the movies does the “savior of the world” get the gratitude of mankind. Recall that Churchill lost reelection right after the war despite fervently believing that he deserved reelection. To avoid the effect of burnout, during WWI the American fleet had a constant rotation of their personnel, with one group at war, the other ashore. Furthermore, people rarely become heroes for successful preventive measures. There was a major wave of research into global catastrophic risks between the years 2001 and 2010, but activity seriously slowed down from 2011 onwards.