Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh


Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh is the Executive Director of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), and is Co-I 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, and leading CSER’s AI industry engagement. 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.

Recent Publications

  • ÓhÉigeartaigh, S.S. (forthcoming). “Would you hand over a decision to a machine?” Book chapter, Philosophers Take On The World (OUP)
  • Beckstead, N., Bostrom, N., Bowerman, N., Cotton-Barratt, O., MacAskill, W., ÓhÉigeartaigh, S.S. & Ord, T. "Unprecedented Technological Risks" (2014). Policy brief requested by UK government. Redacted version online at:

Executive Director, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk


January 2014 - Present


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