ALTER
The Association for Long Term Existence & Resilience

Fostering ways to alter

the long-term trajectory of humanity

Our Work:

Community

We work to build a community of researchers and practitioners that strive to build a better future via a risk reduction lens. We hold conferences and community building events as well as work to identify and nurture the careers of individuals with high capacity to make contributions to research and/or policy in global catastrophic risk (GCR) locally and globally.

Policy


We work to leverage the evidence base to provide decision-makers with the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to enact risk resilient policy and regulation. We engage with policy makers, hold round-tables, participate in global forums, and work to promote holistic, risk-reduction policies both in Israel and globally.

Research

We conduct research, building the evidence base necessary to safeguard humanity's continued existence and resilience against potential threats. We conduct in-house research as well as in partnership with academia and thinktanks.

Our Current Areas of Focus

Using the framing of future generations and human flourishing to focus on immediate actions, we hope to demonstrate and foster useful ways to alter the long-term trajectory of humanity in the short term. We use various methods to identify high-priority areas including the ‘Impact, Tractability, Neglectedness (ITN) framework, thinking on the margin, and expected value among others.

Pandemics

The risks of natural pandemics may be increasing due to environmental encroachment, population growth, and failures of international coordination. At the same time, the risks are decreasing due to improved biosurveillance, better medical technology, and faster vaccines. Preventing or at least reducing the impact of pandemics is critical for human wellbeing both now, and in the future.

Artificial Intelligence

Research on decreasing risks from self-driving cars and algorithmic bias are important, but may be ignoring longer term concerns. What failure modes exist for a society increasingly dependent on complex systems? What is the trajectory of artificial intelligence as it reaches or surpasses human levels of ability in a growing number of specific tasks, and possibly human general intelligence as well?

Health Security

Public health is a critical part of preserving global security, but anthropogenic risks from bioengineering, accidents, and biological warfare pose unclear new threats. Governments must proactively address this threat via both promotion of new technologies like metagenomic sequencing biosurveillance and new indoor air safety technologies, and regulation of technologies like DNA synthesis, which can be abused by bad actors.

Progress Studies

How can we ensure that technological progress continues to improve lives? What are the critical ways in which technology improves human lives, and how can we ensure that future technologies continue the long-term trend of making humanity safer, healthier, and happier? Which institutions can ensure that occurs, and how can we ensure that they last in the long term?

Recent Academic Research

Alter Author(s) are Bolded. Sponsored external research is italicized.
  • Rachum, Ram, Yonatan Nakar, Bill Tomlinson, Nitay Alon, and Reuth Mirsky. “Emergent Dominance Hierarchies in Reinforcement Learning Agents.” The International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (2024) Link
  • Rachum, Ram, Yonatan Nakar, and Reuth Mirsky. “Stubborn: An Environment for Evaluating Stubbornness between Agents with Aligned Incentives.” Workshop on Rebellion and Disobedience in AI at The International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (2023) Link
  • Winter, Christoph, Nicholas Hollman, and David Manheim. “Value alignment for advanced artificial judicial intelligence.” American Philosophical Quarterly 60.2 (2023): 187-203. Link
  • Adams-Phipps, Jupiter, et al., and David Manheim “A systematic review of human challenge trials, designs, and safety.” Clinical Infectious Diseases 76.4 (2023): 609-619. Link
  • Liang, Chelsea, et al. and David Manheim “Managing the Transition to Widespread Metagenomic Monitoring: Policy Considerations for Future Biosurveillance.” Health security (2023). Link
  • Endevelt, Ronit, et al. “Challenges and obstacles implementing evidence-based food fortification policy in a high-income country.” Frontiers in Public Health 11 (2023). Link

Past Events:

ALTER Fellows:

We are pleased to periodically host ALTER fellows. ALTER fellows work with ALTER staff and partners to promote research and policy in our areas of focus. Fellowships typically last for 6 months. Past fellows have conducted technical research on social reinforcement learning behavior to achieve AI Safety, policy research on biosecurity and salt iodization in Israel.

Alumni

Rona Tobolsky
Policy Fellow