0

Is there a word referring to a risk which has low probability but high impact? I'm thinking of something that is dangerous but easily overlooked.

Sample sentence: The emerging field of AI ethics has not yet addressed the ___ risk of creation of a sentient AI.

  • 1
    Note that if you're using a Risk Matrix, a rare but catastrophic hazard is still "high risk." In fact, calling it a "rare, catastrophic risk" may be ideal since you'll be referring directly to risk matrices. – scohe001 Nov 20 '18 at 17:26
  • 1
    You could say it's a non-negligible risk, same as thousands of other writers. – FumbleFingers Nov 20 '18 at 17:32
  • What 'risk'? I thought that was the 'goal'! ;) – AmI Nov 20 '18 at 19:31
  • @FumbleFingers 'non-negligible' is mealy -mouthed. Many things that matter but not really all that much are non-negligible. – JeremyC Dec 20 '18 at 22:21
  • 1
    @JeremyC: Not sure what you mean by that. I understand meal-mouthed as meaning euphemistic or evasive (coming from someone who's afraid to speak plainly). But we usually speak of a non-negligible risk in contexts such as the (remote) possibility of Earth being "sterilised" by a large comet impact. Such things, if they were to happen, would usually be considered catastrophic - hardly "things that matter but not really all that much." They would matter an awful lot if they actually happened - it's just that they're not likely, not that they "don't matter". – FumbleFingers Dec 21 '18 at 13:46
1

It's a Black swan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blackswan.asp

A black swan is an unexpected event, difficult to predict and with a high impact.

| improve this answer | |
0

I've sometimes heard these described as landmines, things that are not easily spotted but blow up in a big way once they're tripped over.

| improve this answer | |
-1

You need to be more precise about what you mean by "high impact". If you mean an impact that would undermine human life as we know it, that is one thing; if you mean an open-ended bet that would leave my family destitute if I lost, that is another. The first affects all humanity, the latter just my family.

There is also a problem with your example sentence because it might not be obvious why sentient AI presents a high impact risk. If you believe that it is obvious that it does then you can simply use some such word as 'catastrophic'.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.