About me

bon uni profile

email: bw380[at]cam.ac.uk

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) at the University of Cambridge, where I scan the horizon for emerging risks and benefits associated with rapidly changing technologies, such as bioengineering and Artificial Intelligence. Horizon scanning is a way of sorting through the deluge of complex information and data faced by policy and decision makers, to look for trends or signals that deserve attention. It aims to alert us to these trends and signals before they take us by surprise. I am also affiliated with the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA) and the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. In my previous role, I did the same sort of work, but in the environmental space, i.e. for the early detection of threats to biodiversity and opportunities for conservation.

I completed my PhD in 2013 in the environmental science lab at Melbourne Uni, supervised by Prof Mark Burgman (environmental risk analysis) and Dr Fiona Fidler (cognitive psychology). You can read more about this on the PhD Research tab.

Generally, I am interested in improving judgements and decision making in data-poor domains that rely heavily on experts, particularly risk analysis, environmental science and Natural Resource Management. However, my research is informed by cognitive psychology and a little bit of philosophy, and has application across many disciplines that use subjective estimation and expert judgement.

My background is interdisciplinary. Primarily, it lies in plant ecology, but I’ve also studied philosophy of science, geography (including GIS) and social science. I’ve tutored in the fascinating subject ‘Critical Thinking with Data’, run through Maths and Stats at Melbourne Uni, and I have an abiding interest in statistical literacy and cognition. I’ve also worked for Parks Victoria, and in another life, for Lonely Planet publications, as a cartographer.

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