Anders Sandberg

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Anders Sandberg
Anders Sandberg FHI.jpg
Sandberg in 2016 pictured wearing his medal with instructions to be cryonically preserved in case of legal death
Born (1972-07-11) 11 July 1972 (age 50)
EducationStockholm University (PhD in Computational Neuroscience)
Occupation(s)Researcher, science debater, futurist, transhumanist and author
EmployerFuture of Humanity Institute

Anders Sandberg (born 11 July 1972) is a Swedish researcher, futurist and transhumanist. He holds a PhD in computational neuroscience from Stockholm University, and is currently a senior research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow at Reuben College.[1]


Sandberg at the University of Helsinki, in 2006

Sandberg's research centres on societal and ethical issues surrounding human enhancement and new technology, as well as on assessing the capabilities and underlying science of future technologies. His research includes work on cognitive enhancement[2] (methods, impacts, and policy analysis); a technical roadmap on whole brain emulation;[3] on neuroethics; and on global catastrophic risks, particularly on the question of how to take into account the subjective uncertainty in risk estimates of low-likelihood, high-consequence risk.[4]

Sandberg is a commentator and participant in the public debate about human enhancement, as well as for his academic publications in neuroscience, ethics, and future studies.[5]

He is co-founder of and writer for the think tank Eudoxa, and is a co-founder of the Orion's Arm collaborative worldbuilding project.[6] Between 1996 and 2000 he was Chairman of the Swedish Transhumanist Association. He was also the scientific producer for the neuroscience exhibition "Se Hjärnan!" ("Behold the Brain!"), organized by Swedish Travelling Exhibitions, the Swedish Research Council and the Knowledge Foundation, that toured Sweden in 2005–2006. In 2007 he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, working on the EU-funded ENHANCE project on the ethics of human enhancement.[7]

Sandberg is also an electronic artist, whose renderings have been adapted for book covers by futurist Damien Broderick: The Dreaming, Earth is But a Star, The Judas Mandala, Skiffy and Mimesis, Uncle Bones, Warriors of the Tao, and xyzt.[8]

Sandberg at TEDxTallinn, in 2012

Sandberg has also supported and advocated cryonics, for example by signing an open letter to support research into cryonics[9] and by being an advisor to the UK Cryonics and Cryopreservation Research Network,[10] a UK advocacy group.[11] He has personally arranged to be cryonically preserved after his legal death.[12]

One of his 2014 papers, entitled "Ethics of Brain Emulations",[13] became one of the most downloaded papers in the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence,[14] from a special volume edited by Vincent C. Müller.

With nanotechnologist Eric Drexler and philosopher Toby Ord in 2018 he published a paper entitled "Dissolving the Fermi Paradox".[15][16] The paper was the first to estimate and rigorously take into account the uncertainties in each term in the Drake equation. These uncertainties, which often span multiple orders of magnitude, can be represented as probability distributions with long tails. Instead of getting a single estimate of the probability of life in our galaxy, they therefore obtained a distribution. They found that there is a high likelihood that we are alone in our galaxy or even alone in the entire observable universe, thus proposing a solution to the famous Fermi paradox, which asks why we do not see signs of intelligent life in the night sky.

In 2018, in response to a question on Physics Stack Exchange, Sandberg published a paper on entitled "Blueberry Earth", which answered the question, "What if the entire Earth was instantaneously replaced with an equal volume of closely packed, but uncompressed blueberries?" The paper got a large amount of news coverage on Slate,[17] The Atlantic,[18] Popular Mechanics,[19] Atlas Obscura, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes, Live Science, Physics World, New Scientist, and many blogs and podcasts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Future of Humanity Institute".
  2. ^ Sandberg, A.; Bostrom, N. (2006). "Converging Cognitive Enhancements" (PDF). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1093 (1): 201–227. Bibcode:2006NYASA1093..201S. CiteSeerX doi:10.1196/annals.1382.015. PMID 17312260. S2CID 10135931.
  3. ^ Anders Sandberg, Nick Bostrom (2008): Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap Archived 3 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine Technical Report #2008‐3, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University
  4. ^ Ord, Toby; Hillerbrand, Rafaela; Sandberg, Anders (2008). "Probing the Improbable: Methodological Challenges for Risks with Low Probabilities and High Stakes". arXiv:0810.5515 [physics.soc-ph].
  5. ^ "Anders Sandberg - Google Scholar Citations". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  6. ^ Orion's Arm, the early years
  7. ^ Wilks, Jeremy (21 October 2014). "Anders Sandberg : Explorer of the mind". Euronews. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  8. ^ Sandberg, Anders. "Curriculum Vitae of Anders Sandberg". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Scientists Open Letter on Cryonics". 15 January 2012. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  10. ^ "UK Cryonics and Cryopreservation Research Network". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  11. ^ Chibber, Kabir (11 May 2015). "Meet the people out to stop humanity from destroying itself". Quartz. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  12. ^ "V&A · Project focus | Cryonics: who wants to live forever?". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  13. ^ Sandberg, Anders (14 April 2014). "Ethics of brain emulations". Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence. 26 (3): 439–457. doi:10.1080/0952813X.2014.895113. S2CID 14545074.
  14. ^ "Most popular articles". Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  15. ^ Sandberg, Anders; Drexler, Eric; Ord, Toby (6 June 2018). "Dissolving the Fermi Paradox". arXiv:1806.02404 [physics.pop-ph].
  16. ^ "Three of The World's Greatest Minds Just Published a New Take on The Famous Fermi Paradox". ScienceAlert. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  17. ^ Kois, Dan. "A Q&A With the Brave Scientist Who Figured Out What Would Happen if the Earth Were Made of Blueberries". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  18. ^ Zhang, Sarah (2 August 2018). "Blueberry Earth: The Delicious Thought Experiment That's Roiling Planetary Scientists". The Atlantic. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  19. ^ "What If the Earth Was Made Out of Blueberries?". Popular Mechanics. 5 August 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.

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