Board of Advisors

Martin E. Hellman

Professor Emeritus Of Electrical Engineering At Stanford University

Martin E. Hellman is best known for his invention, with Diffie and Merkle, of public key cryptography, the technology that, among other uses, enables secure Internet transactions. It is used to transfer literally trillions of dollars every day.

His work has been recognized by a number of honors and awards, including election to the National Academy of Engineering, the Marconi International Fellowship, and the million dollar ACM Turing Award, often viewed as “the Nobel Prize of Computer Science.” More detailed information is available on his honors and awards, his university service, and his professional and civic service.

Martin has a deep interest in the ethics of technological development, and one of his current activities is the Rethinking National Security project. That approach has been endorsed by a number of prominent individuals including former Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) Adm. Bobby Inman and Stanford’s President Emeritus John Hennessy.

He and his wife Dorothie wrote a book, A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet.

During the 1980’s, Prof. Hellman helped develop a meaningful dialog between the Soviet and American scientific communities on how human thinking had to evolve for survival in the nuclear age. This effort culminated in his co-editing a book with Prof. Anatoly Gromyko of Moscow: Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking.

He received his B.E. from New York University in 1966, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1967 and 1969, all in Electrical Engineering.

He has authored over seventy technical papers (click for publication list), twelve US patents and a number of foreign equivalents.

Jaan Tallinn

Founding Engineer of Skype and Kazaa

Jaan Tallinn is a founding engineer of Skype and Kazaa. He is a co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (, Future of Life Institute (, and philanthropically supports other existential risk research organisations. Jaan is on the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (, member of the High-Level Expert Group on AI at the European Commission, and has served on the Estonian President’s Academic Advisory Board. He is also an active angel investor, a partner at Ambient Sound Investments (, and a former investor director of the AI company DeepMind (

Anders Sandberg

Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford

Anders Sandberg is a Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the ERC UnPrEDICT Programme and the FHI-Amlin Collaboration. He is research associate to the the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. He is on the advisory boards of a number of organisations and often debates science and ethics in international media.

He has a background in computer science, neuroscience and medical engineering. He obtained his Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Stockholm University, Sweden, for work on neural network modelling of human memory.

Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh

Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER)

Seán is Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) and Co-PI on CSER’s research projects. Under his and Huw Price’s leadership, CSER has grown in two years to be a world-leading academic research center on extreme technological risk. Since 2011 Sean has played a central role in international research on the long-term impacts and risks of artificial intelligence (AI), project managing the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology from 2011-2014, co-developing the Strategic AI Research Centre (Cambridge-Oxford collaboration) in 2015, and co-developing the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (Cambridge-Oxford-Imperial-Berkeley collaboration) in 2015/16. He has had an active program of engagement with both policymakers and research leaders in computer science on long-term AI, in the UK, Europe and US.

Prior to Cambridge, Sean also established the FHI-Amlin Collaboration on Systemic Risk – a major academic-reinsurance industry partnership on catastrophic risk modelling – as well as several other research programmes in Oxford. His primary research interests include: emerging technologies, risk, technology policy, horizon-scanning and foresight, expertise elicitation and aggregation, genomics, synthetic biology, evolution and artificial intelligence. He has a PhD in genomics from Trinity College Dublin. His work is supported by the Templeton World Charity Foundation as part of the Managing Extreme Technological Risk project at CSER.

Robin D. Hanson

Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University

Research Associate at the Future of Humanity Institute

Robin Hanson is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and a Research Associate at the Future of Humanity Institute.

After receiving his Ph.D. in social science from the California Institute of Technology in 1997, Robin was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation health policy scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1984, Robin received a masters in physics and a masters in the Philosophy of Science from the University of Chicago, and afterward spent nine years researching Artificial Intelligence, Bayesian statistics, and hypertext publishing, independently, and at Lockheed, NASA. Robin has over 60 publications, and since 1988 he has pioneered the new field of prediction markets. Robin also studies the social impact of future technologies. He wrote The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life When Robots Rule The Earth.

Scott David

Director of the Information Risk and Synthetic Intelligence Research Initiative (IRSIRI) at the University of Washington

Scott David, J.D., LL.M., is the Director of the Information Risk and Synthetic Intelligence Research Initiative (IRSIRI) at the University of Washington (Seattle) – Applied Physics Laboratory, and was formerly the Executive Director of the Law, Technology and Arts Group at UW School of Law.

Over the past decade, Scott has been active in several programs of the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the IEEE, and a host of other organizations addressing the challenges associated with global information network and interaction system transitions.

Prior to joining the University of Washington, Scott worked as an attorney for 27 years focused on counseling commercial and governmental entities worldwide in the structures and transactions at the crossroads of technology and commercial networks with an emphasis on online commerce, data security, privacy, digital risk, standards setting, taxation, and emerging intangibles value propositions.

Scott was a partner at the K&L Gates law firm (formerly Preston, Gates & Ellis) from 1992 to 2012. Prior to joining K&L Gates, he was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York.

Carina Fearnley

Director of the UCL Warning Research Centre

Carina is Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies at University College London and Director of the UCL Warning Research Centre, the world’s only Centre dedicated to international research and collaboration with stakeholders to devise better warnings for all hazards. She is an interdisciplinary researcher, drawing on relevant expertise in the social sciences on scientific uncertainty, risk, and complexity to focus on how natural hazard early warning systems can be made more effective, specifically alert level systems. She also has passion in the transdisciplinary potential of art and science collaborations around environmental hazards. Carina established the World Organisation of Volcano Observatories Volcano Alert Level Working Group, and edited the first publication dedicated to Volcanic Crisis Communication (Observing the Volcano World: Volcanic Crisis Communication).

Carina studied Geology and Mining at Imperial College London prior to working in London City’s financial sector. She completed her PhD at the UCL Hazard Research Centre before lecturing at Aberystwyth University. Carina is a regular consultant for Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, and frequently appears on national and international media following significant hazard events.

Sella Nevo

Entrepreneur and Technologist

Sella Nevo is an entrepreneur and technologist committed to enacting large-scale effective social impact, specializing in machine learning research and global development. Sella currently leads the Google Flood Forecasting Initiative, which aims to provide high-accuracy flood forecasts and warnings globally, alongside several other humanitarian and environmental efforts at Google. He also teaches Applied Ethics and Information Security at Tel Aviv University, and is a Venture Partner at the VC firm Firstime which invests in startups advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, he is the co-founder of Probably Good – an impact-focused career guidance organization.

Prosenjit Ghosh

Associate Professor at Indian Institute of Science Bangalore

Prosenjit Ghosh received PhD in Physics from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad. During his PhD, he conducted an experiment on mass spectrometric analysis of natural carbonates to unravel their environmental condition for deposition. Subsequently, he was IAEA- WMO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany and then moved to Caltech as a postdoctoral researcher.

His contribution to the development of air CO2 standards and its acceptance to the global community is an important contribution to be mentioned. While at Caltech his work on clumped isotope thermometry is highly cited and important milestone in Paleoclimate research. He spent a relatively short span of time at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan working a Assistant Professor prior to joining IISc as the first faculty in the Centre for Earth Sciences in the year 2007.

He currently is an Associate Professor at Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and serves as adjunct faculty in the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Divecha Centre for Climate Change and Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research. He is in charge of a stable isotope research group which is involved in a climate of the present, past and future. Students and researchers in the group are actively involved in projects linked with seasonal variability, climatic events, monitoring of trace gases and developing a technique for analysis of trace gases in air and water samples.

His research is regularly published in International journals (52 publications) and covered by the national press and news channel. He is the editorial board member of QSR, a journal dedicated to Quaternary climate research.

Peter Alexander

Senior Lecturer in Global Food Security at University of Edinburgh

Peter is a senior lecturer at University of Edinburgh jointly between the School of Geosciences and the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security. 

Peter’s research aims to better understand the socio-economic and environmental interactions and trade-offs associated with the global food system.  Approaches use high-performance computing to apply data and computationally intensive techniques, such as agent-based modelling, to explore the complex interactions inherent with the system. Work has included developing a new global agricultural land use model (LandSyMM) integrated with an ecosystem models to represent the two-way and spatially specific interactions and trade flows. Interests include how changes in food consumption and preferences, e.g. dietary shifts, impact environmental outcomes such as biodiversity loss and climate regulation.  He is the principal investigator on the Resilience of the UK food system to Global Shocks project (RUGS).

Gorm Shackelford

Former Research Affiliate at CSER (Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk)

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Zoology at Cambridge

Dr. Shackleford is a post-doctoral research associate in Zoology at Cambridge and was a research affiliate at CSER. He led a systematic review and expert assessment of sustainable agricultural practices in Mediterranean climates. He uses text and data mining to create information on catastrophic risks and interventions that could minimize these risks. He has a background in biodiversity, conservation, and ecosystem services, especially in agricultural ecosystems. He brings important agricultural expertise to the ALLFED team.

Dr Talib E. Butt

Dr Talib E. Butt is a Senior Lecturer (equivalent to associate professor in the US) (in the environment, engineering & management) at the Northumbria University, England, UK. His career covers both the construction/built and the natural environment. His multi- and inter-disciplinary studies, research and professional practice span over three decades, with work-experiences in the private/commercial, industrial, consultancy, public/government, voluntary and academic sectors. Predominantly, his career is in the risk assessment field, addressing both, natural and anthropogenic hazards. Climate change and sustainability are cross-cutting themes of his career in both, academe and practice; and yet involving all the five spheres of the ‘total’ environment, including: lithosphere (land/soil), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), biosphere (human and other life) and technosphere/anthroposphere (human influences and developments).