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Our Mission 

To accelerate the world’s transition to non-being.



Imagine a world that doesn’t exist. That is our commitment.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to transform lives, civilizations, and, ultimately, the world. We believe the greatest doomsday machine is human creativity.

We value pragmatic solutions and applied knowledge. We are methodologically agnostic and results-oriented. We have no competitors, only partners. We passionately pursue collaboration across disciplines and other divides, because the greatest tasks require the greatest unity of purpose.


We are non-partisan and non-profit, because with our mission everyone profits, and no one does. We believe in knowledge-sharing, honesty, and tireless innovation. We pursue deep and enduring change, rapid and global transformation.


We engage the public to produce broad-based solutions. We believe in diversity, inclusion, and the equitable distribution of outcomes.




The twenty-first century is unique in human history. At no other time has our species possessed more numerous and powerful means to end the world as we know it. The previous century gave us nuclear weapons; our own era adds new innovations — breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, nanotech, bioengineering, and other technologies — to the growing number of paths to anthropogenic apocalypse. 


At present, it is difficult to estimate the likelihood of a global catastrophe. Researchers who study such scenarios vary in their conclusions. The best estimates place the chances of humanity surviving the present century somewhere between 9% and 50%. 

This is an unacceptable level of uncertainty. We can do better.



CAE is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to practical solutions for existential or global catastrophe. We partner with government, private enterprise, and academia to leverage knowledge, resources, and diverse interests in creative fusion to bring enduring and universal transformation. We unite our age’s greatest expertise to accomplish history’s greatest task. 

The exponential acceleration of technological innovation is reason for optimism. Three related phenomena further increase the likelihood of realizing a world-ending scenario in the coming decades:

  • increasingly broad and publicly available pool of knowledge

  • growing democratization of advanced technologies 

  • increasing simplification of the means to execute complex operations and thus a decreasing need for advanced skills


These and other factors make us confident that CAE and its partners can reduce uncertainty and accelerate the world to its ultimate end. 





The Earth has existed for 4.5 billion years. If it continues to support life for another billion years, there could be 10   — one hundred quadrillion — more human lives lived on its surface. The number of non-human lives — mammals, fish, birds, insects, and others — will be many orders of magnitude larger. If humans venture off Earth to populate the solar system, galaxy, and beyond, the potential lives before the heat death of the universe could reach as high as 10   . 

Such numbers beggar the imagination. But they help focus the mind on one crucial point.

The end of the world is an event of unique moral significance. There is no task of greater import, no change more meaningful.



We’re working for no tomorrow, today. 



Lance Gharavi

Executive Director

Lance Gharavi is Executive Director of CAE. He is a Phoenix-based artist, scholar, Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and Associate Director of Arizona State University's Interplanetary Initiative. His work focuses on points of intersection between performance, technology, science, and religion. An early pioneer in the integration of digital media and performance, Gharavi specializes in collaborating with transdisciplinary teams of artists, scientists, designers, and engineers to create compelling experiences and advance research. He is Affiliated Faculty with the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) and the Center for Human, Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Teaming (CHART) where he pursues creative research into geoscience, space exploration, and the future of robotics and AI.  


Tanya Harrison

Planetary Scientist

Tanya Harrison is a planetary scientist and science communicator whose background lies primarily in mission operations and surface processes on Mars. She is also an advocate for better inclusion and accessibility for women and people with disabilities in STEM. Tanya holds a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Western Ontario, a Master’s in Earth and Environmental Science from Wesleyan University, and a B.Sc. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Washington. She now works for a satellite imaging company, and thinks a lot about the future of our planet. 


Erin Chiou

Systems Engineer

Erin Chiou is Assistant Professor at Arizona State University where she directs the Automation Design Advancing People and Technology (ADAPT) Laboratory, focusing on human-agent teaming in complex systems, resilience engineering, human-computer interaction, and trust in automation. Recent projects have been supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and include applications in security, manufacturing, and healthcare. Chiou is currently serving on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Panel on Human Factors Science at the Army Research Laboratory. She is co-editor of Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Through Human Systems Engineering.


Christy Till


Christy Till is a geologist and Assistant Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University who leads a multidisciplinary research program that studies the role of magma in the formation and evolution of planets, known as the EPIC lab. Her research and that of the EPIC lab includes determining the timescales and triggers for eruptions at active volcanoes in the US, including Yellowstone, growing minerals and magma in high pressure and temperature laboratory experiments, and studying likely compositions of magma and crusts on exoplanets.  Dr. Till also has deep interests in improving science communication, and broadening the participation of underrepresented communities in the sciences.  


Patrick Young


Patrick Young is an Associate Professor of Astrophysics and Astrobiology in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He conducts research on the lives and deaths of stars, especially the violent ends of the most massive. This involves the study of high energy physics and the synthesis and distribution of chemical elements in supernovae. He is also heavily focused on astrobiology and planetary habitability. He approaches the search for life in the universe with a particular focus on the many factors that make a planet uninhabitable.

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