I arrived before he did, and waited in a hallway between two conference rooms. A plaque indicated that one of them was the Arkhipov Room, honoring Vasili Arkhipov, a Soviet naval officer. During the Cuban missile crisis, Arkhipov was serving on a submarine in the Caribbean when U.S. destroyers set off depth charges nearby. His captain, unable to establish radio contact with Moscow, feared that the conflict had escalated and ordered a nuclear strike. But Arkhipov dissuaded him, and all-out atomic war was averted. Across the hallway was the Petrov Room, named for another Soviet officer who prevented a global nuclear catastrophe. Bostrom later told me, “They may have saved more lives than most of the statesmen we celebrate on stamps.”

do the operators of the weapons have an inherently better perspective on their power and does this drive them to be particularly cautious re: their use?

The Doomsday Invention


  • location: Minneapolis
  • weather: 55.4°F and Partly Cloudy