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World building contest

The Future of Life Institute accepted entries from teams across the globe, to compete for a prize purse of up to $100,000 by designing visions of a plausible, aspirational future that includes strong artificial intelligence.

© barrow-motion

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What Is World

Building?

Worldbuilding exercises generally start with some “ground rules” to provide focus. The “ground rules” are illustrated below.

Worldbuilding is the art and science of constructing a coherent and  detailed fictitious world. It is frequently practiced by creative writers and scriptwriters, providing the context and backdrop for stories that take place in future, fantasy or alternative realities. Submissions will use the tools of worldbuilding to explore possible futures for our own world. They will help us better understand what sorts of worlds may be more or less desirable, and potentially how to get to a more desirable reality. Worldbuilding is not prediction: the worlds built here should be believable and internally consistent. That said, builds of future worlds are still speculative and need not target the most probable scenarios.

The Criteria

Individually or in teams, the prompt was to design a plausible and aspirational world consistent with a set of ground rules, outlined in the video above

Plausible means that the world should be one that could well happen.  In particular it should be:

  • Consistent with today’s actual world;
  • Consistent with known science;
  • Not rely on any implausible “miracles” to make sense (though improbable events occur in any realistic world!)

Aspirational means that, while not utopian, this world is one that you and presumably many others would like to inhabit.  It would be seen as a fairly good outcome and a hopeful vision.  Where this is in tension with plausibility, plausibility should win – that is, being hopeful does not mean being naive, and just as your world should not rely on implausible “miracles” to make it self-consistent, it should not rely on them to be desirable.

Submissions

Submissions consisted of four elements. They were intended to tie together into a coherent picture, with e.g. the “day in the life” pieces illustrating some of the institutions, technologies, or social structures explained in the answers to the prompts.

Timeline of events from 2022-2045

"A Day in the Life" Short Stories

Answers to prompts about your world

Original non-text media piece

Prizes

Submissions closed April 15th. Twenty teams were selected and announced as finalists on May 15th. The winners will be revealed June 30th.

The general public was be invited to give feedback on these final 20 entries, largely on their aspirational quality. Incorporating this feedback, the panel of judges was tasked to rank the entries and award the following prizes:

First prize: $20,000

Two second prizes: $10,000 each

Five third prizes: $2,000 each

Ten fourth prizes: $1,000 each

Judges discretionary prizes: up to five prizes of up to $2,000 each.

Important note: Prizes are to be evenly split among members of prizewinning teams, but to encourage collaboration they will also be up-scaled by a factor of 1.5 for 2-person teams, 1.75 for 3-person teams, 1.875 for 4-person teams, and 2.0 for 5-person or more teams.  Thus, e.g., a two-person team winning first prize would be awarded $15,000 each.  This means that the contest has a total prize pool of up to $140,000.

Join our Discord to meet others.

 Responses to our team building interest form can be found here.

Winning worlds

 Explore the worlds of the winners and finalists of FLI’s Worldbuilding Contest. Tell us – what kinds of futures do you want? We are collecting audience input for each world.  

Disclaimer – This work is the product of the Worldbuilding Contest participants. The ideas presented here are not to be taken as FLI’s positions.

Congratulations to all the winners.  

Teams

Countries

Individuals

Futures selected as finalists

First place

W-0000000281 – Bridging Demonstration

Mako Yass

New Zealand

Second place

Note: There are two second place teams. These are not displayed in a hierarchical fashion. All teams displayed here are equal recipients of our second place prize. The prize for second place was 10,000 USD which does not include the score multiplier.

W-0000000088 – Towards a Wiser World 

Jackson Wagner, Diana Gurvich, Holly Oatley

USA 

W-0000000313 – Meraki

John Burden, Lara Mani, Jessica Bland, Beba Cibralic, Henry Shevlin, Clarissa Rios Rojas, Catherine Richards

UK, USA, Peru, Australia

Third place

Note: There are five third place teams. These are not displayed in a hierarchical fashion. All teams displayed here are equal recipients of our second place prize. The prize for third place was 2,000 USD which does not include the score multiplier.

W-0000000165

Conrad Whitaker, Dexter Findley, Tracey Kamande

Kenya

W-0000000429 – Weakly General AI is Enough

Michael Vassar, Matija Franklin, Bryce Hidysmith

USA, UK

W-0000000451 – Making the Most of Their Advice

Mark L., Patrick B., Natalia C.

USA

0000000262 – AI 4 the People

Chiara Ricciardone, Micah White

USA

W-0000000450

Nicol Ogston, Vanessa Hanschke, Tashi Namgyal, Elaine Czech, Susan Lechelt

England, Scotland, Poland, Germany, USA

Fourth place

Note: There are ten third place teams. These are not displayed in a hierarchical fashion. All teams displayed here are equal recipients of our second place prize. The prize for third place was 1,000 USD which does not include the score multiplier.

W-0000000101

Andrew Lyjak, Brandy Riedel

USA

W-0000000245

Jaime Sevilla

Spain

W-0000000318

Kyle Moser, Andrew Escher, Edward Braillif, Luisa Venegoni, Mac Kammerer

USA

W-0000000415

Rebecca Rapple

USA

W-0000000468

Jose Cordeiro, Jerome Glenn, Theodore Gordon, Elizabeth Florescu, Maria Mateo, Veronica Agreda

Bolivia, Romania, Spain, USA, Venezuela

W-0000000135

Julian Dreiman

USA

W-0000000286

Cressot Loic

France

W-0000000335

Liav Koren

Canada

W-0000000454

Martin Wagah, Carringtone Kinyanjui

Kenya

W-0000000476

Anna Dolliver, Ashley Nagel, Ivy Mazzola, William Kiely, Juno Jin, Vivienne Mazzola

USA

Honorable Mentions

W-0000000065

Willow Wong, Wenxi Zhang, Li Min Ong, Mark Findlay, Xenia Bapasola

Singapore 

W-0000000108

Antonio Di Fenza, Graham Herdman, Sergio Gramitto-Ricci, Paul Grzesik, Andrea Marzilli, Marco Iodice, Davide Camposano

Italy, U.S.A., Germany, Australia

W-0000000344

Karl von Wendt, Jan Hendrik, Kirchner

Germany

W-0000000282

Kanad Chakrabarti

USA/UK

W-0000000102

Carlos Largacha-Martinez, John W. Murphy, Jonathan Tavssberger, Maria Isabela Gomez, Daniela Chavez

Colombia, USA

W-0000000215

Natasha Mott, Brett Bakos, Richard Striano, Jessica Mitchell, Hanna Waters

USA

W-0000000180

Rob Morano

USA

Youth Section

W-0000000231

Alex Mao, Felisha Wang, Serry Shen, Ian Lam, Sasha Manu

14-15 year old team from Hong Kong 

W-0000000260

Dina Black, Quin Kondis, Shyla Gupta, Mas Dixon, Julia Brodsky

12-14 year old team from the USA

W-0000000388

Aiden Lundbarg

14 year old from the USA

W-0000000394

Sai Ankit Venkumahanthi

16 year old from India

W-0000000249

Ethan Yao, Ivan To, Jonathan Hui, Sasha Manu

14-15 year old team from Hong Kong

W-0000000376

Zoe Anzman

13 year old from Hong Kong

W-0000000390

Sasha Timokhov, Kai Minejima-Le, Maya Patterson, Ilan Shterenberg, Sacha Labarre, Julia Brodsky

12-14 year old team from the USA

The youth section seeks to celebrate the hard work and imagination of future generations. The work illustrated above was produced exclusively by applicants aged 12 to 16. Only completed applications were selected.