Eight things Don’t Look Up gets right

The new Adam McKay movie is out on Netflix today and has a fairly plausible portrayal of what might happen in the event of an apocalyptic event. Here are eight things I think the movie gets right:

  1. Many (most?) scientists are bad communicators and are not very good at conveying danger in a way normal people can understand. (Some scenes reminded me of the discussion over presenting global warming temperatures in Farenheit so Americans can better appreciate the severity.)
  2. Government institutions move too slowly.
  3. Electoral politics are not conducive to tackling existential risks.
  4. Media incentives are not conducive to tackling existential risks.
  5. Everything can be politicised. (See here.)
  6. International cooperation is easier said than done.
  7. The UN always moves too slowly.
  8. It is psychologically easier to hope for the best than prepare for the worst.

I enjoyed the film, and thought Timothée Chalamet was particularly excellent. I would have liked it to spend more time on technocrat/bureaucrat failures due to their risk-aversion, which strikes me as being a very underrated risk and one that has killed many people in the pandemic (see here, here, and here).

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