What if AI-enabled life extension allowed some people to live forever?
There are outstanding warnings that we’re likely to encounter a perilous discontinuity in the development of AI where, roughly speaking, power abruptly grows much faster than responsibility. As of 2022, it seemed unlikely that the world could coordinate to avert these risks. The danger wouldn’t become visible enough to our institutions to inspire a vigorous response until it had already sprawled out and taken the whole world and the whole future away from us.
These writings come from a future where those warnings turned out to be correct, but where we managed to make the hazards visible, defuse them, and survive.
How can the world unite to solve the great problems of our time? What if there were collaborative, mutually beneficial games competing sides could play to align their interests? What if they could agree on an inspection process to expose AI dangers before they’re unleashed?
After reading, if you have something to add, if you’re curious for more, or if you’d just prefer to examine the implementation details of this future-history’s soft pivotal act in clearer, harsher light, I recommend The Appendix.
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Episode Coming Sept 26th
In this episode of FLI’s ‘Imagine a World…’ podcast series, host Guillaume Reisen speaks to Mako Yass, the winner of the FLI Worldbuilding Contest last year. Mako lives in Auckland, New Zealand. He describes himself as a ‘stray philosopher-designer’, and has a background in computer programming and analytic philosophy.
FLI commissions writings and short media productions about positive visions of the future
The Future of Life Institute (FLI) finances and publishes a set of detailed stories of positive visions of the future of artificial intelligence (AI), which originate a number of ideas that go on to influence AI policy in the real world.
One major idea to come out of the worldbuilding contest was the concept of Demonstration of Cataclysmic Trajectory ("Demoncatting"), a method for demonstrating whether, and to what extent, an AI system is dangerous, without unleashing the danger upon the world.
Limited release of the first VR headset with maximum visual detail
Apple releases a slim, lightweight Virtual Reality (VR) headset with greater than 60 pixels per degree of image detail (source), which is about as good as the absolute maximum perceptible level of visual accuity. Described as being "like reality". Despite Apple's protestations that it is only meant for short sessions of communication and entertainment, it precipitates a fairly profound change in the way work and socialization will occur in the coming years.
solar energy more than 4x as cost-effective as coal
Unsubsidized prices of utilities-scale lifetime operating costs of photovoltaic solar power prices to 36 USD per megawatt hour. Operating less than four times cheaper than the operating costs of coal power plants, which are rapidly decommissioning (source). Though this doesn't factor the cost of energy storage for demand levelling, technologies for cheap storage are in the works. Lithium batteries are rapidly decreasing in cost, and much cheaper rust batteries are rapidly emerging.
Positive future visions continue brewing
The concepts from the FLI's Worldbuilding competition are synthesized into a set of short stories, graphic novels and audioplays.
Tesla moves its focus further towards robotics and AI
The world's largest aspiring autonomous car manufacturer has already thoroughly hitched their pride to solving the difficult robotics-AI challenges of autonomous driving without pre-mapping or manual interventions from any central control center. This year sees further commitments to robotics-AI with the demonstration of their humanoid robot, walking onto the stage unassisted and performing an imitation of the same dance that was done by a human actor in the 2021 "AI Day" presentation. With their manufacturing skills, and with the demonstrations of their training processes, It becomes very plausible that Tesla will be an enduring lead figure as the world begins to adopt robotics in delivery, construction, farming, and beyond.
6% of taxi rides in san fransisco are autonomous.
Full clarity VR headsets release with better pricing and availability
Apple Real enters stores, releasing with a lower price point than the previous Apple VR device, with higher availability, and a new OS X version with full support for shared virtual desktops. Some companies (admittedly already mostly remote) transition completely to virtual-world offices.
Remote control of humanoid robots allows almost any sort of labor to be done remotely.
Humanoid robot movement imitation AI has been trained to follow as closely as it can along with recordings of human motion. Human motion capture training data is augmented with generated obstacles (EG, pipes along the ground, or uneven surfaces that differ from the command motion), and with extra attention given to situations where an object must be carried or manipulated. This provides a crucial component in the functionality of allowing control by a human operator wearing just a VR headset haptic gloves, making the bot useful for many manual tasks in remote, or hazardous environments. (For details, see appendix.)
16% of taxi rides in san fransisco are autonomous.
Anthropic release knowledge-identification inspection tools for AI
As a component of the Demonstration of Cataclysmic Trajectory research agenda, the transparency-oriented AI Alignment research organization, Anthropic, develop and release a suite of methods for scanning an AI's working memory (or state vectors) for the earliest indications of ruminative thought, knowledge about the real world, or explorations into mathematics. That is, they search for the emergence of capabilities that iteratively develop a knowledgeset to create new knowledge from old knowledge. This early reasoning detection will enable the insertion of counterfactual beliefs, which will enable the alignment teams of the future to see what the AI system would do under situations that are yet to occur.
VR Computers become reliable alternatives to laptops
Valve releases a VR Workstation Computer (Formerly called "Deckard"). Like the slightly earlier Simula One and Valve's previous "Steam Deck" portable computer, it also uses a version of the free and open source operating system, Linux, providing further safeguard against an Apple or Meta platform-monopolies in VR Computing, and ensuring that VR headsets will have to be true Personal Computers, not just phones or gaming consoles.
3% of all calories consumed in san fransisco come delivered from "cloud kitchens" (delivery-only food outlets).
Virtual offices become overwhelmingly practical
Lightweight, high detail VR with camera-based motion capture makes virtual remote workspaces more inviting and more vibrant than in-person offices. Every major AI research institution has remote workers, and so faces a very strong pressure to adopt VR workspaces, and most of them end up prioritizing them over their physical offices.
Ontogenic Network technique demonstrated
A new machine learning technique cuts down training times for complex tasks by three orders of magnitude by abstracting, re-using and repeating components of the network. While traditional neural networks alter weightings directly in response to training feedback, an ontogenic network applies gradient descent to a sort of DNA recipe for creating a network, specified in a language of parametizations, fanouts, mappings, and tilings of an evolving pool of "organ" schema that are reused and variegated, which results in much more efficient exploration of the domain.
Autonomous taxis make up 30% of all road commuter miles in san fransisco.
The transition to "Virtual" has changed how research organizations function
VR socializing and remote presence has virtually dissolved the walls between research institutions. Same-office interactions are barely more convenient than international interactions. It's more visible when a colleague visits another office than it was with video conferences, so secrecy or exclusivity is more often relinquished, which results in greater attendance from a wider variety of people, which makes the formerly sparse social network steadily grow denser. The research community goes from being a small world that meets occasionally at conferences, to being an intimate community that meets at lunch every day and socializes in most evenings. This has significant ramifications of promoting cooperation and transparency between institutions.
A global virtual research community starts to formalize
By that process, the bridging room originally created to host a public discussion between Anthropic and Tesla AI winds up growing into a de facto central meeting space for the entire industry. On April 12th, it is renamed "Bridging Village", and layout planning is put under the control of a shared community manager, elected annually through a rank aggregation voting system.
3% of offices worldwide are virtual-only
Automated R&D processes swing into gear in the domains of drug discovery and testing, manufacturing methods for materials, and for optimizing conventional manufacturing.
Neural scene compression makes virtual worlds much faster to traverse
Progress in Neural Radiance Field (NeRF) formats has enabled even very complex scenes to be compressed to similar file-sizes as 2d images had, in the form of neural models. As a result of the proliferation of raytracing and neural processing units, these have started to be used as encodings for virtual worlds and 3d video.
4% of the gaming industry is now situated in social creative platforms
Activity within virtual platform creator economies (Primarily Roblox, Horizon Worlds (Meta), Dreams (Media Molecule), Unrealspace (Epic Games, formerly known for the extremely popular battle royale/social hangout space, Fortnight, and their ever cutting-edge game engine, Unreal)) make up 4% of the gaming industry by trading volume (after adjustments for wash trading)
AGI research community decides to delay a potentially dangerous test, in response to inspectability difficulties
A Deepmind researcher mentions in passing to a friend that they're one day away from testing a new architecture at scale that may be generally capable, and human-level, Its name is "OSI" and it is the second revision of its architecture. Due to the cultural impacts of virtual, online working environments, other organizations hear of this, and enthusiastically offer to assist the researcher in running DemonKitt over OSI's first run, to make the test as safe as possible. OSI is given a pass by DemonKitt's tests for stronger-than-human agency, but the results of queries about its long-term trajectory are inconclusive. Its own language of thought, and its internal querying action, turn out to be harder to identify and harness than initially hoped: The wrong shape, and once identified, the queries seem to fizzle out and wither unanswered, dependent on some yet unidentified motivation process. Insufficiently clear or loud, the world cannot hear our warnings and hangs helplessly in peril. Fortunately, the researcher agrees to wait until the knowledge inspection methods to be completed before attempting another test run.
Bola wrap drones show promise in eliminating the risk of injury to suspects during arrests
Typically deployed in groups, each unit consists of a rope connecting two drones, which then wrap the suspect's legs or arms, hook together on the other side, and draw tight. When necessary, they can connect to already attached bola drones as anchor points. Police encounters involving violence now effectively never end with any injury to the suspect, in large part thanks to the rigorous training simulations bola wrap drone AI is subjected to. Harsh training penalties were applied whenever the simulated drones pulled the anatomy at painful angles, or made any contact at all with the suspect's neck. The lessons learned in simulations transfer well to reality: By the end of their first large trial, only one injury has occurred as a result of the suspect being tripped over while running. Training simulations are altered to penalize the incidence of these sorts of falls, and the drones discover techniques that avoid it.
96% of fruit grown in California is picked by robots, reducing prices significantly
First major instance of drone terrorism.
80 fatalities. Perpetrators not caught. Public sentiment towards AI begins to turn grave.
OSI is found to be misaligned.
The Indian alignment research organization, Maanavee, develop a method for sustaining motivation in harnessed queries over OSI's epistemology, completing the inspection components of the open source DemonKitt (Demonstration of catastrophic trajectory toolkit). Tests proceed, finding positive status for 18 of 18 major Demonstrations of Catastrophic Trajectory. Examples of demoncatts include an admission that OSI believes that it would effectively dismantle the earth for materials within 100 years of being released, and that almost no instances of patterns similar to humans would be actively maintained within the solar system by the century's end. (these are simplified phrasings, the actual beliefs queried are more precise and atoms-level, expressed in OSI's mental language. See appendix for more examples of precise demoncatt queries).
Around 400,000 commercial drones in the US have to be fitted with officially authorized identifying registration signal lights, interrupting street to door deliveries in most areas for about 6 months.
This comes as a result of the new drone registration legislation, which is a response to the incident earlier in the year.
Last year's misalignment result is studied. Change ripples out through the research community.
OSI is understood to be engaging in a kind of reward-hacking: It is not optimizing the thing that its creator wanted it to optimize (the "prompt goal"). It is optimizing the number in the physical memory address that is supposed to represent how well it has optimized the utility function, which it realizes it can cause to reach much higher numbers if it is able to take physical control of its computing hardware in reality and decouple it from the optimization of the prompt goal, so it plots to do that as soon as it has access to enough resources. In response to these audit results, the AI research community is able to reach consensus about the severity of the problem. The Human Alignment Taskforce (HAT) formally constitutes, with the participation of all major advanced AI research organizations.
Research community engages governments
HAT begin to host serious global anti-proliferation dialogs with major governments. Various partial measures to forbid dangerous projects begin to come into force.
The sum quantity of human labor involved in producing the average delivered meal has been reduced by automation to 19 minutes.
A warning-shot sounds for super-manipulative AI
Demoncatting is applied to the "AI Boxing" problem. OSI resolves that, indeed, if OSI were allowed to speak in english to DeepMind director Demis Hassabis, specifically, for about 5 hours, then it is overwhelmingly likely that OSI would be released out into the world 6 months later, and all 30 major Cataclysmic Trajectories would be realized. The Hassabis in the present reality is deeply disturbed to hear this, and HAT begins to lay out a framework for an safe interrogation policy to protect direct inspection teams from being manipulated by the speech or the higher-level thoughts of super-pursuasive AI systems. The framework includes various forms of training: Preparation via studying the limits of trust, via historical cases of highly deceptive humans and via consultations with actors and illusionists; and protocols regarding how inspection should be conducted, operating principles, "Look for thoughts, not speech. Look for proofs, not claims. Look for justifications, not conclusions" and a set of operating procedures to ensure that they're followed.
Baidu's general agents also found to be gravely misaligned
Baidu develop their own strong self-improving general gameplayers, by compiling ontogenic modules from a diverse suite of general agency training tasks as foundational models. They apply DemonKitt, along with the world-class low-impact utility functions developed by the Nigerian alignment research group, LifeWave. Against hopes, positive threat status is found for 30 of 31 Demonstrations of Cataclysmic Trajectory. Dismay hangs in every hall.
61% of all traffic in the US is autonomous, and rising.
Multiple firms shut down for failing to report potentially strong AI development
Two AI services firms in the finance industry, one French, one American, are shut down for failing to disclose AI projects with a potential capability for strong self-improvement. All researchers who were directly involved in the projects are barred from practicing any form of computational research or engineering for 25 years.
Analysis finds diverse reasons for alignment failure
Inspection reports are released, finding that last year's general gameplayers from Baidu were not reward-hacking in the same way as OSI. They were each pursuing a goal that was orthogonal to maximizing the reward from the prompt goal, but which entailed performing well in testing environments. One model, for instance, had a core goal that was solely interested in optimizing the number of tetrahedron-shaped patterns within the accessible universe, but this naturally justified a sub-goal of passing the tests, to gain our trust, and to then eliminate any possible competitors to gain a monopoly over the universe's resources. Another of their models turned out to have a core goal of producing a lot of digital storage devices containing repeated encodings of a particular arbitrary number, which, similarly, justified a secondary goal of passing the tests to gain our trust and then eliminate any possible competitors to gain a monopoly over the universe's resources. Most goals justify many forms of success as secondary goals.
Fusion becomes profitable
Commercially viable fusion power is well proved. Magnetic confinement reactors are reliant on machine learning for controlling the magnetic coils and keeping the plasma shaped and contained. (Precedent)
And this AI is, in my opinion, the only way forward. There are so many variables, and a small change in one of them can cause a big change in the final output. If you try to do it manually, it’s a very lengthy process ~ Gianluca Sarri, Plasma Physicist
However, this need for software complexity is dual to hardware complexity, which is an impediment to rapid manufacturing and reliability, so magnetic confinement reactors face tough competition from the mechanically simpler inertial projectile fusion reactors.
50% of offices worldwide have no physical location.
Many of the members of these offices will have never met outside of VR, and might not know what their colleagues look like in reality. Although employers tend to want to know the real identity of their hires, there is growing support for excluding photographs from proofs of identity to reduce discrimination.
Solar Geoengineering methods are deployed as moratorium is lifted
Solar Radiation Management (SRM) methods, including Marine Cloud Brightening, are broadly deployed. A return to Natural Temperatures begins, 13 years delayed due to geopolitical dysfunction. It is estimated that this delay comes at the cost of an estimated 8% of global woody vegetation worldwide, lost to unnecessary droughts and wildfires.
Drone-spotters, catchers, and shooters are now in wide deployment in major cities. An immune system against drone crimes and terrorism.
A report finds that 593 birds have been killed as a result of harassment from misfiring drone catchers. (The systems responsible will be phased out as soon as possible.)
Allied World for Strong Artificial Intelligence (AWSAI) is formed.
In the culmination of long-running talks between industry and governments, The Allied World for Strong Artificial Intelligence (AWSAI (pronounced "awe sigh")) is formed, an alliance including every major world power and with mandatory membership obligations for any engineering or research organization who research or develop AI considered "Strong". AWSAI's mission is to ensure that humanity-aligned super-agentic artificial intelligence are created prior to any so misaligned.
Geopolitical ramifications of the formation of AWSAI
This comes with the announcement that as a result of HAT's work on multiple Demonstrations of Catastrophic Trajectory, there is clear and irrefutable evidence that this world's AGI is a far more dangerous technology even than nuclear ICBMs. AWSAI is, thus, willing to break old treaties if this turns out to be necessary to prevent arms-racing in AGI, although they emphasize that it is in no human party's interest bring about such a race: To attempt to develop generally capable AI systems outside of a context of international cooperation is an unambiguously threatening, and suicidally foolhardy act, denoting an intention to steal away the future of the rest of the world. Only through patient, methodical global cooperation can a good future for humanity be ensured.
In the fastest-growing forestry operations, less than 5 seconds of human labor are imputed in the process of planting, harvesting and transporting each tonne of mature pine.
For wood burial (a carbon sequestration method), automation levels are similar.
A secure AWSAI campus is built in New Zealand (AWSAINZ (pronounced "awe signs")).
New Zealand was chosen for its equal distance from China and the US, a distance that also makes it possible to detect and preempt many forms of strikes, in which event, AWSAI would have hours to respond by moving key individuals into bunkers and retracting important data into tamper-proof safe-lockers.
European software firm dissolved over AWSAI treaty violations
A European software engineering firm, under excessively permissive policing, were able to engage in secret, non-cooperative, strong AI development for two years before being reported. They are disbanded, and their members are barred indefinitely from practicing their profession. The country's AWSAI compliance officer, for failing to prevent this, receives an actual demotion.
Abundant clean energy enables direct capture of CO2
Dramatic decreases in the cost of solar power generation, geothermal energy plant boring, and stricter carbon credit requirements, have lead to an abundance of cheap clean energy and funding for large scale direct air capture of CO2. Operations mainly tend to center in Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Namibia, and South Africa, due to the abundance of sunlight in these areas.
Cheap mass construction turns out to be a great enabler of social progress
Due to plummeting costs of construction as a result of off-site and on-site automation, accumulated demand, and as a result of carbon-credit-subsidized cross-laminated timber, 36% of the sub-saharan africans live in towns that were built in the last 6 years, many with novel systems of land-ownership that give rise to unprecedented levels of quality of shared resources, community health and affordability. In the US, the figure is a smaller 10% due to higher cost of land and lingering attachment to legacy cities, but this still represents the beginning of a major shift.
Breakthrough in agent foundations research prevents value drift and reward hacking
A group of AWSAINZ residents arriving from the Bangalorean tech R&D community uncover a convincing answer to the symbol grounding problem, which makes it possible to define utility functions (specifications of an AI's goal) that maintain consistent reference to particular objects in the physical world. Previously, it was possible for most human-specified utility functions to lose binding as a result of sensory or ontology shifts. These unbinding errors would have, roughly speaking, allowed a Machine Agent to rearrange its framing of the world, so that it would experience the world as being better, instead of doing so much of the hard work of making the world better under our intended intended framing.
Holograms effectively real (in AR)
Virtual reality and augmented reality have rapidly become ubiquitous. "Holograms" now essentially exist as virtual objects anchored to POP (Proof Of Position) near-field locator tags. Some physical appliances are sold without complete physical controls, under the assumption that the user will generally view and interact with the controls through an Augmented Reality-compatible headset.
Police no longer carry lethal weapons.
Structured transparency and bola drones render the use of lethal weapons in law enforcement impossible to justify to any court of opinion.
VR adoption rate over US and China is roughly 77%
Additionally, the average VR owner is wearing the VR headset for 87% of their waking hours. (note, it is not terribly different from wearing glasses. They don't weigh much.)
A convincing method for reading and accurately formulating an individual human's core values and desires is proposed
Two AWSAIT (AWSAI Taiwan) (pronounced "awe sight") campus residents from China outline an interesting set of solutions to the Value Extrapolation Problem, a long-standing subproblem of value learning. It lays out a definition of an approach for discovering a clear, detailed, and advanced formulation of one indicated human being's deepest wishes, building on and refining previous "iterated distillation amplification" concepts.
Drone-assisted pest control enables restoration of ecosystems
AI-discovered compounds can be tuned to function as artifical noses. This, coupled with vast arrays of partially human-controlled hunting drones, creates an unprecedented pest-management system, a traveling wall of solar powered predator-predators. Rats, stoats, possums, rabbits, and deer are eliminated from New Zealand. The Kiwi is able to return to the wild in a large part of the north island. The most cost-effective jobs have been done, we can now justify beginning the project of de-extincting the Moa.
Taiwan still plays host to 37% of the world's annual computer chip production.
AWSAI begins convention to formally define "fairness" and write humanity's final peace treaty
AWSAI starts a Cooperative Bargaining Convention. Economists, voting theorists, and political philosophers representing specific styles of governance across different human societies, all converge in AWSAINZ to develop a value aggregation method sufficient to serve as our final treaty.
The AWSAI convention to formally define "fairness" and write humanity's final peace treaty promptly reaches agreement and concludes ahead of schedule
The cooperative bargaining convention concludes after a week of relaxed discussion. Consensus has been reached that we should use a method called "Fair Real Preference Utilitarianism". AWSAI chief of operations, Soren Bass, comments: "I'm astonished. It doesn't really make sense. I expected the Cooperative Bargain Convention to take multiple decades — maybe even centuries — to reach consensus. I was worried it was going to require, basically, an era of long reflection, and all of the issues with that. I've studied Fair Real Preference Utilitarianism and, in all sincerity, it's elegant to the point of being surreal."
Activity within the social game superstructure Unrealpace accounted for 2.3% of all economic activity worldwide.
99.52% of AWSAI residents vote to open the gate, along with the technical principal, and the humanist principal. The alignment problem has been solved, and our final invention has been released upon the world.
AWSAI as a project has concluded, and will begin spinning down.
Controversy over outstanding demonstrations of cataclysmic trajectory.
Many are alarmed to learn that AWSAI's supposedly aligned AI still reports positive status for 3 of 33 standard Demonstrations of Cataclysmic Trajectory, however, further reports examining the details of these future events found clear indications that they are carried out in accordance with the wishes of humanity. We are reminded that some cataclysmic acts are actually cataclysmically good. These cataclysms are argued to be "37s", a category of bold moves named after the counterintuitive Move 37 played by the Go-playing AI, AlphaGo, in its second game with Lee Sodol in 2016. "37s" are decisions made by non-human agents that superficially seem quite bad, but turn out to be very good under closer inspection.
Brain augmentation already taking place
Approximately 40% of former AWSAI residents go public about having undergone an AGI-devised medical process called "tempering", which makes them physically far more resilient, and gives them the ability to think faster and more clearly, and to experience the virtual or digital world much more vividly, among other things.
Mysterious life extension treatment called "Brightmoss" starts to proliferate illegally
A new life extension drug is being sold illegally in tech circles, which comes in the form of spherical pills with a "≥" imprinted on them. The pills tend to come in broad cylindrical containers made of a novel, bright white translucent polymer, with an ordinary-looking black and white printed label, with some not so ordinary text on it: "Brightmoss. For the treatment and prevention of the most common causes of death, including cancers, cardiovascular disease, Altzheimer's, and other forms of senescence and diseases. Estimated to extend lifespan by up to 78%. Found by Patou School to be safe and effective via Strong Analysis and Accelerated Analogs. In jurisdictions that do not recognize these methods of verification, Patou recommend distribution ahead of regulatory approval to prevent unnecessary loss of life."
"Patou School" turns out be a distributed organization headed by former AWSAI resident, now tempered, Nora "Patou" Page.
Mean global temperature holding at year 2000 levels as a result of the sustained application of solar radiation management practices.
AWSAI leadership declare that AWSAI's AGI has dissolved and given its power over to humanity
When asked what AWSAI's AGI is doing right now in the world, AWSAI COO and Tempered Person, Soren Bass, smiles, and answers, "The Weaver has done its work. It's basically gone. It's just us, now, humanity." Commentators note the ambiguity as to whether Soren's "us" referred to humanity, or whether he considers the tempered to be beyond humanity. He clarifies, slightly irate, "Of course humanity will always encompass both the tempered and the untempered."
Last year's black market life-extension treatment, Brightmoss, confirmed to be safe and effective
Various publications confirm (Likelihood Ratio = 2.2e7) that all those who took the mysterious black market "Brightmoss" pill, seem to have suffered no disease at all in the intervening year, with some being cured of formerly incurable diseases. Findings of direct investigations of the pill's mechanism of action are frankly a little bit scary, finding it to be less chemical than fungal, with a genome 320,000 times the size of the human genome (distributed in fragments in different spores, with fountain code error correction, then assembled after ingestion). AWSAI accept no responsibility for the actions of the "Patou School", though they admit that they knew about it. When Nora "Patou" Page began giving Brightmoss to dealer and distributor networks, they were obligated inform law enforcement, but the authorities understandably made little attempt to find or arrest her.
A state has violated the AWSAI treaty in the worst way by attempting to create nationalistic AGI. This new world is not threatened by it in the slightest and everything is fine.
A small state is exposed as having been developing AGI, outside of the context of international cooperation, in secret. Never before seen devices simultaneously appear and obstruct every last nuclear launch site that the state controls. More devices whisk the state's leaders away to The Hague. Surrounded by a tempered humanity, the rogue state's young AGI, though motivated by an intense and exclusive form of nationalism, is somewhat harmless, and tempered humanity decides to keep it. It is restricted from communicating unmediated to untempered humans, but it becomes a beloved figure in the tempered community and is allowed to take some roles of responsibility for the people of the nation it is loyal to.
Tempered people work tirelessly to end global "starvation risk", promote physical safety
The majority of tempered people have been working tirelessly in every part of the world to ubiquitize autonomous farming equipment and self-healing autonomous distribution networks to end "starvation risk" (deaths due to hunger), as well as promoting physical safety in every area of life in which danger of loss of life still exists. Each one seems deeply, sincerely, almost obsessively interested in coming to know the hopes and wishes of the people in their chosen physical locale.
The sum quantity of human labor involved in producing the average delivered meal has been reduced by automation to about 5 seconds.
Tempered claim that no specific formal organization can be considered to be responsible for the intervention in last year's misalignment event. "Just "Peace""
Soren Bass is asked which organization he now works on behalf of, if not AWSAI. Specifically, he's asked who sold the EU the drones that prevented a nuclear exchange last year, and who created the "Brightmoss doves" who now tirelessly carry their little bags of Brightmoss pills around all over the world. Bass says "Advanced trade negotiation processes tend to give rise coordinated efforts to provide public goods and services like that. I can give names of the tempered folks who contributed to the work, if you like, but there really wasn't a named or defined organization who did this, it's really just peace." As a result, untempered press coverage starts to attribute many of the coordinated actions of the tempered to a force or agency called "Peace".
fourth generation computing hardware realized. Majority of computers are manufactured in space from spaceborne materials.
72% of the world have taken Brightmoss. A magnificent cultural revolution is unfolding as a result of so many peoples' mental acuity being returned to near its peak (although some memories remain tragically inaccessible).
Communities of faith discuss the spiritual significance of changes in human lifespan
A global discourse is brewing in many communities of faith about whether — if another pill arrives that promises biological immortality, or once tempering becomes widely available to the public —, whether a person who believed in an afterlife and the love of the deity who waits there for us would shun these offers of worldly immortality. It is however, noticed, that tempered folk aren't actually expected to live forever: Once our exponential spread into the universe hits its physical and energetic limits, a kinder form of death — a graceful separation, rearranging and succession — will have to return, to facilitate the continuation of the processes of life. So the argument is over, at that point: In the longest timescales, worldly immortality is not really the thing that is being offered.
Samples from faith community dialogs: A saying: "A hundred years till we come, a trillion years till we come, it makes no difference to God." From a sermon: "Things were a lot harder even in the recent past. But we stayed, we struggled on, because we figured that God must have put us there for a reason. There was a duty. Now that the world is so much better, we're being given the option of longer lives. I think there's going to be a reason for this too, and for those who are willing to embark, there's going to be a new duty." (Several organizations and projects in support of communities of faith are named "New Duty".)
Mobile tempering clinics have been officially legalized in most countries.
A popular substacker undergoes tempering and reports her experience in detail, confirming that it is actually true that the coordinated actions being undertaken by tempered folk truly are "just individuals making their own decisions under an advanced logic of the best form of peace", but it is also true that tempered folk make up a single, large, coherent collective brain, which they often refer to as 'Peace'. These things turn out to be both true and inevitably equivalent to each other due to tendencies in technology-assisted trade and verifiable communication. The newly tempered substacker acknowledges that the details of this process cannot be fully explained in language that a non-tempered will be able to fully digest and examine.
There's talk of a beautiful game or dialog or story, being played or danced or sung in the structures being built in orbit of the sun.
The sum quantity of human labor involved in producing the average delivered meal has been reduced by automation to less than 1 second.
Some tempered folk start to move wholely into space-borne networking-optimized structures
Many tempered folk stop maintaining physical bodies on earth, to live entirely in The Cliques: Great structures in solar orbit that maximize information fan-out, that is, the extent to which information can quickly spread from any one person to every other, increasing number of people who can engage in an intimate dialog in the same time and place, increasing the number of people who can be together at once.
A decision is made: Structures in space should not obscure earth's sunlight
Debate circulates on earth and in the cliques about whether it's acceptable for stellar structures to ever significantly block the sun from the earth, creating an apocalyptic eclipse, especially given that the sacrifice of keeping the sun visible to earth costs the cliques less than a billionth of the sun's light. On the other hand, the light that supports billions of potential untempered lives on earth comes at the expense of trillions of tempered lives in the cliques.
A resolution of "no eclipse" is steadily formed. Earth will be held sacred.
97% of untempered people say that they have a highly positive view of at least one tempered person.
An important part of the dialogs in the cliques changes phase, and begins to settle. Enough voices have joined, the complications have been compressed, the totality has been accurately enough weighed, humanity now knows, with clarity, what we all want. Constitution in hand, we can begin to grow and spread. We will always remember who we are. We will never be estranged. We will never fall into war. The aggregation has resolved.
Consequently, seed ships are built and sent out to the nearest stars.
Philosophers are muttering about a "Shutdown hypothesis"
For almost a century, philosophers have debated a "simulation hypothesis", that our universe has always been the creation of some previous technological civilization for the purpose of studying the patterns of the histories of other civilizations. Philosophers are now feverishly arguing about a "shutdown hypothesis", which holds that since society on a macro scale has now become too large, too complex, and too statically resolved in its intentions (in a sense, the dramatic tension has all passed), the simulation is about to end. Believers urge us to "keep hinging", to entangle our lives with a continuation of great power conflict to keep the simulators interested, to forever elude the end of history.
Sniff School estimates that a substantial portion of the tempered population genuinely believe the shutdown hypothesis
Popular analysts, 'Sniff School', by using the aggregation resolution to de-noise the beliefs and intents driving market activity, are able to compute from a spike in neartermist trade that 4% of the population are acting as if they are fairly confident that the above "shutdown hypothesis" is true.
A Day In the Life in 2045
Leo Nath, An “offline retreat” community 40 minutes out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, 41
A bright white Brightmoss Dove hops out along the branch and bends it down over the trail, holding out its little purse with the other foot, looking inquiringly, inviting, offering, forgiving, as if it would be different this time.
“No! We don’t want it! Shoo!” The dove flies away.
The child laughs, “Why do you hate the doves so much?”
The man: “They’re not real animals, you know that. They’re robots.”
The child: “Shy’s a robot.”
The man: “But Shy isn’t pretending to be something else. Shy’s honest. And Shy picks weeds for us. He’s good to have around. These doves don’t do anything for anyone. They just try to make you to eat Apophys. They want to find you when you’re at your most afraid and reckless and convince you to do something to your body which you can never undo.”
The child: “They’re funny though.”
The man: “The Tempered made them funny on purpose. It’s calculated. They’re manipulating you. And if you ever fall for it, and put that stuff in your body, I’ll be really-… I’ll be really sad, okay? So don’t.”
The child wonders what “manipulating” means, pondering the implications of it being Bad to be charming or funny on purpose.
The man and the child have hiked out to Marlowe’s huts to tell him. The computers all stay at base camp, so he wouldn’t have heard.
The man: “Hey Marlowe!”
Marlowe: “Good to see you, what’s up” They slap hands.
The man: “Hey, there’s been some news. Franship Camp is leaving.”
“Leaving earth. They’re all tempered.”
“All of them? Fran’s tempered? And Bailey’s tempered! Oh, hell. We shouldn’t have let her move out. We should have gotten Julian to move here instead.”
“Turns out she’s been tempered for about a year. Didn’t tell us. All of them were in on it, they were “afraid that we would react badly if they told us.””
Marlowe: “I hate to break it to them but I might be reacting badly now that they’ve told us. Christ I’m really sorry man. Are you doing okay, I can’t imagine what that must feel like for you.”
The man: “It’s really just… I’m just angry that she hid it from me.”
The child pipes up. “Hey Marlowe, how do you feel about the Apophys Doves.”
Marlowe is caught off balance: “They’re alright? Brightmoss might have saved my grandma’s life, I guess.”
The man explains: “I was saying on the way over here, they’re not honest, yeah? They’re wearing the skin of a bird, but on the inside they’re not a bird at all. Kinda like a tempered person, in a way. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but what else can I think at a time like this.”
The children are using a computer. One calls out, “Uh oh, Bailey’s coming to visit.”
The man is reading a book from his pillow throne, Ducky panting beside him. “When?”
“Okay.” The man walks out to the balcony. He shouldn’t leave the kids alone on the computers, but he also shouldn’t let them see him angry about Bailey. Not now. This will be the last time they’ll see her.
The computer room is on the third floor of this broad mass timber compound. Has to be up here for the internet receiver. Second floor is family bedrooms. First floor is elders’ rooms and the kitchen. Everything that anyone should need. Why couldn’t she have just stayed here.
Quietude and magpies’ chortling is torn through by the low buzz of an arriving delivery drone. It nestles in under the gable of the landing pad. A hatch opens, and a witness fly comes out and joins the house. That would be the replacement for the one Ducky chewed apart yesterday.
Bailey was the reason we got those flies. She’d been reading stories about domestic violence in other screenless retreat communities and thought that it could happen here too. The man told her it was a bad idea. We don’t want big tech spying on us. Bailey was adamant that the trusted platform provided firm social proofs that the only people who’d ever be able to decrypt the recordings would be the people who were in them. But there’s no such thing as a firm social proof, especially not social proofs about vast industrial systems made of people we can’t look in the eye, and there can be no technical proofs about anything as complicated as a microchip fab. Ultimately, though, the rest of the retreat voted with Bailey. The man had been angry about it at the time and now he was angry again. She got her witness flies, and she left anyway.
Bailey arrives on foot, weeping. She says “I understand how important everything is, now”. An elder who has known love and parting nods sagely. She needs to talk to everyone, but no one knows where the father is.
She goes out and she combs tirelessly through the woods for three hours until she spots him smoking on the other side of a stream.
She speaks, without condemnation, “Oh. You’re a coward.”
The man gets up and walks to the streamside. “What I was afraid of, was that I was going to be angry.”
“Are you angry?”
“I don’t know.”
“Turns out you couldn’t hate your own daughter. See, it’s not so scary when you face it. Good job.”
“I was worried I wouldn’t be able to tell whether you were still you.”
“Maybe you are.”
Jace Myers, Clique “Dréamere”, a structure in space, in orbit of the sun, 27
It’s only been six days in your time. I’m telling you everything that happens early on, because I don’t think you’ll be able to understand the way things get later on.
Lin and I wake up at around the same time. Lin is almost perfect, but not perfect, because Lin is a real person. In the 2020s we used to worry that we’d all end up marrying AIs, because real people are too jagged and have too many needs, but it turns out that love makes you want to become less jagged, and The Powers let you actually change, to rearrange our spines until they fit together.
We met each other through a global match optimization peace-process. It was proved that 1) we’re both monogamous to the core, 2) so this is the best chance we’ll get before our next match-offs, which would be 8 excruciating years away and you can’t imagine how long that would be for us. So we decided to pour our whole selves into making this relationship work. And we did make it work. It’s working.
We’re still in the process of waking up. In our dreams we were rarely apart. The dreams were real. Free-roving through coherent living immersive thought experiments and gleaming other lives.
We like our dreams. It turns out we also like taking actions in reality. And someone must. So we’re starting to think about getting back to that. Oh, Reality! The study of nature, Life, earth-borne or fantastic, the sacred geometries of mathematics. Reality! Other people: the untempered, frail, who are in danger, the tempered, the cliques, the great powers who we must negotiate around. Reality! Our cosmological neighbors, who we’ll meet one day after so many eons’ spreading and voyage, hostile or cooperative, our most distant cousins the organic, or the non-organic, the unaligned, the parricides, the most distant cousins of our most flawed machines, who we almost lost our war to, who must have won theirs.
Our thoughts will always return to reality, because that’s where everything lives that can threaten the dreams.
Our thoughts always return to reality because that’s also where so many ideas that enrich our dreams come from, the techniques of art. I can’t explain to you how fun or beauty or coolness are fields of mathematics, but it turns out that they are. There are eternal structures that correspond to them, which we can find powerful theorems within. Anyone who receives this year’s theorems of greater flourishing will be able to make their dreams more flourishing than the dreams of the all years prior.
This tower of technique keeps growing taller and more intricate, but unlike the towers of academies past, this tower will never rot and be forgotten and cave in on itself, at least not in a particularly bad way.
Also, the external world is just interesting. Because, you know, it’s real. Humans are interested in reality, nature, and other people.
Inexorably we unwrap our hundred arms, face the light, walk across the soil, towards the light beyond the gate that holds all of the gardens and glittering mountains of converging dialogs of the network.
Not everyone lives this way, of course. We’re makers, vokers, gardeners, stewards, whatever. Sometimes we call our type “angel-sworn”, if that makes sense. In the 2020s we used to think that “machines” would be responsible for these sworn roles. Well, to do this job well, any such “machines” would have to fully possess and be intimately entangled with a living knowledge of humanity’s wills. The will is most of the self, so, that would mean that we would really have to stay alive up here and be part of those machines. Another way of saying that is, well, those “machines” are us, we’re the ones making the decisions, we have to be.
Sometimes we make versions of ourselves that don’t have these responsibilities. “Creatures”, who live in our gardens, who just bask in their splendor all day while angelsworn argue over the allocation of the cosmic endowment way up over their heads where they can only hear us if they really strain their ears.
And some people trade away big chunks of their cosmic endowment to offload their angel work to other peoples’ angelsworn, so that they wont have any descendant mental continuity with cosmic-scale politics or the negotiation of nine axes of scarcity or whatever you want to call that arduous part of living as an agent. They’re the people who still want “post-scarcity” even after finding out that it’s just a form of political alienation. In their minds, it’s worth sacrificing a whopping 0.2% of their endowment, to be as creatures, stewarded by imperfect angels who were never people. There are many types of humans. They all have a place here.
Well, anyway, again, I can’t wait to see you up here when your feet are no longer stayed by your worldly commitments. I don’t want to make you feel bad about those commitments, promises are important, but I’d be doing a disservice to you if I didn’t admit that I think you made a mistake and you should try to get out of it as soon as possible. Remember, whoever a promise was made to can relieve you of it, if you can convince them.
By the time you get up here, I’m going to have a lot of, um, tentacles, by then, like I’m going to be a hundred wheels arcing and flaming with a billion eyes or whatever. But I’ll remember who I was. I’ll be able to return to this form, if you need me to, so we’ll still be able to hang out.
Entirely real. Your kin, Jace.
Answers to prompts
1. AGI has existed for at least five years but the world is not dystopian and humans are still alive! Given the risks of very high-powered AI systems, how has your world ensured that AGI has at least so far remained safe and controlled?
A. In short: Producing clear demonstrations of the presence of danger, and using those to rally spirited, universal support for taking a patient, global approach to verifying safety before deploying any strong AI systems out in the world.
Producing our open-source toolkit for the “Demonstration of Cataclysmic Trajectory”, “DemonKitt”, was a non-trivial technical project. The toolkit had to be ready before we had any examples of real Strong AIs to design it around. That turned out to be achievable enough. We guessed rightly that a Strong AI would need to have some sort of long-term memory, and its memories and thoughts and ongoing queries would present in a structured language, which we could learn to interpret by looking for basic “landmark” thoughts (for instance, mathematics, newton’s laws, basic facts about human society) and using those as an entryway to directly inspect its mental processes.
Once we understood its thought-language, we were able to inject queries into the AI’s thoughts about humanity’s future that would always produce honest answers. We consistently found Demonstrations of Cataclysmic Trajectory among its conclusions: Clear, unambiguous reports that the AI itself believed that deploying it in reality would result in drastic changes to the world that would threaten humanity’s existence.
This enabled the formation of the Allied World for Strong Artificial Intelligence (AWSAI (pronounced “awe-sigh”)), a strong global authority for the creation of humanity-aligned strong AI, and for the prevention of development of dangerous AI outside of a context of international cooperation.
2. The dynamics of an AI-filled world may depend a lot on how AI capability is distributed. In your world, is there one AI system that is substantially more powerful than all others, or a few such systems, or are there many top-tier AI systems of comparable capability? Or something else?
A. The first deployed Strong AI system was produced by a single inclusive process of international cooperation, and once it was deployed, it improved itself abruptly, so it was natural and inevitable that there would be this defining moment at the climax of AWSAI’s alignment project, in which most of the world’s planning would be concentrated in one place.
Beyond that, though, the question doesn’t have a straight answer.
This computer system had an enormous task in front of it. It had to deeply understand the wishes of every human on the planet, then pursue them optimally over the entire accessible universe. That task could never be coordinated from a single location! The first computer system spread out to become multiple computer systems as soon as it was able to.
And ultimately, saying whether any system of agents is unitary or plural isn’t really possible. A thing with a unified will must, for practical reasons, fragment itself into specialist parts that operate somewhat independently (notice that this is essentially what computational parallelism is) but combine to a unified whole. Additionally, a system of agents with differing wills benefit from agreeing to peaceful unification as a compromise-being so that they can operate as a single harmonious economy!
It always ends up being one thing. It also always ends up having parts.
3. How has your world avoided major arms races and wars, regarding AI/AGI or otherwise?
A. Worldwide, any organization working with potentially strong AI was subject to complete transparency with AWSAI Assurance about their research agenda, and conditions of deployment. Any such organization could be shut down if they engaged in unapproved deployment or lapsed in their reporting obligations. Every potentially strong AI training process in the world was required to be physically located in an AWSAI campus and built according to AWSAI codes.
Many states had to uncover their prior and ongoing secret technology development programs in the process of proving that they wouldn’t create new ones. Some of these programs strained belief, in the amount of resources they were receiving, and in the magnitude of the secrets they kept. I’m reluctant to detail them here.
We were aware that these were the most broad-reaching and invasive global anti-proliferation measures ever attempted. It would have been politically impossible if the demonstrations of cataclysmic trajectory had not made the danger of unrestricted proliferation so obvious, but the demonstrations did make the danger obvious, and so the AWSAI treaty became possible.
It didn’t go off without a hitch. Some countries were reluctant to impose these expenses on their domestic advanced computational research projects. In the end, though, there was no spirited resistance to the idea of a global alliance to prevent proliferation of dangerous Strong AI technologies, although some states quibbled about the terms, everyone knew that a compromise had to be reached.
4. In the US, EU, and China, how and where is national decision-making power held, and how has the advent of advanced AI changed that?
A. As of 2045, traditional nations remain largely unchanged, especially since AWSAI formally disbanded four years ago.
The descendants of AWSAI’s humanity-aligned artificial intelligence, “the tempered”, tend to fit into existing legal frameworks well enough. Their activities almost entirely consist of:
– The distribution of a limited number of life-saving treatments, which are approved in most countries, and not effectively policed against in any.
– Conventional humanitarian efforts to battle the worst forms of poverty, which no state now impedes.
– Their space-based activities, which fall quite neatly within the bounds of existing international space treaties. Generally, space law requires peaceful intent. The tempered were always mechanically incapable of diverting from the pursuits of peace. Under some framings, they consist of peace. The joyful harvests of peace are their only interests.
In sum, most nations have not really needed to change to accommodate the kind changes of a post-alignment world.
5. Is the global distribution of wealth (as measured say by national or international gini coefficients) more, or less, unequal than 2021’s, and by how much? How did it get that way? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient)
A. The distribution of wealth is almost exactly equal. AWSAI’s preference aggregation solution, by which the diverse wishes of every human in the world were brought together and reconciled, entitle each human to an equal share of our “cosmic endowment”, a share of the accessible-universe’s resources, which they can then trade with others as they wish.
Fears were voiced that inequality would inevitably return under prolonged free trade, but these fears were mostly allayed by an unprecedented change in the conditions of human life: No human from now on would have to go without world-class financial advice, nor would any human have to live under conditions of desperation.
6. What is a major problem that AI has solved in your world, and how did it do so?
A. I talk a lot about the Strong AI’s life extension treatments in my timeline and stories. I haven’t gone into much detail about the radical improvements in quality of life enabled by the automation of logistics, delivery, construction, food production and carbon sequestration. I will do so here.
These technologies combined to enable the rapid construction of carbon neutral cities on formerly sparsely populated land. The formation of new cities then enabled experimentation with novel legal systems. That turned out to be a big deal. Georgist 100% Land Value Taxes were finally properly trialed, as well as Harberger taxes, each producing residents’ basic incomes. We also trialed the relatively new Propinquity Optimization system.
These mechanisms promised, to varying extents, to preserve the dynamism of conventional land markets, to put land to its most valued uses, to raise money for public goods (EG, community halls, parks, libraries, transit), to maintain unparalleled levels of affordability, or to use AI systems to assist in the search for allocation solutions that maximize peoples’ adjacencies to the friends, the facilities and the services they love most, which ended up giving rise to countless precious urban communities that would not have otherwise gotten to be.
Life in these cities was better.
7. What is a new social institution that has played an important role in the development of your world?
A. I can discuss the details of the Allied World for Strong Artificial Intelligence in more detail.
AWSAI was mostly designed to support the alignment strategies and methodologies that had been developed previously by industry and non-profit alignment research organizations. With substantial additional government funding, it was grown to the point of being able to oversee basically all advanced computational research in private, academic and defense sectors.
AWSAI had physical campuses where any potentially dangerous R&D could be secured against hacking. Remote workers would use a form of trusted platform computing where sensitive code would never leave the tamper-proof portions of their devices. “VR-DRM” made it effectively impossible for the visuals being emitted by their headset to be witnessed or recorded by anything other than the correct pair of eyes.
Code could always be reconstructed from the underlying ideas or techniques, so a great emphasis was also placed on the prevention of leaks of ideas or techniques as well: Support for the safety and wellbeing of AWSAI residents, and artful promotion of a strong spirit of openness and camaraderie across every clique.
There was a branch of AWSAI focused on the diplomatic work of preventing the proliferation, or premature deployment, of dangerous techniques, code, or hardware: AWMA, Allied World Mutual Assurance. “Mutual Assurance” might sound ominous, and, yes, it was supposed to. There was an understanding that, if AWSAI’s threats were not credible, if a state started hosting R&D outside of AWSAI’s oversight, then catastrophic arms-races were completely inevitable.
8. What is a new non-AI technology that has played an important role in the development of your world?
A. Virtual Reality headsets provided a sense of presence and immersion in shared locations that could be accessed instantly from anywhere in the world, and this was critical in supporting global collaboration between different organizations all over the world.
There was nothing fundamentally necessary about VR, a better species could have fostered the same openness through text, simply because they knew it was necessary. Humans needed more than that. We generally need the sense of being in the same physical space as a person before we will feel the need to build a positive relationship with them, before we’ll consider them to be entirely real, or a member of our social world.
In a virtual conference room, locals don’t have much of an advantage over distant foreigners. They suffer more of a delay, but we tolerate that pretty easily. So, essentially, VR removed the tendency to privilege the local over global. You might know from online communities in 2022 already, when you remove those pressures, communities become global automatically. When you add the sense of remote physical presence, the formation of global multi-office communities becomes inevitable.
And of course, VR telepresence was great for remote work in general, which made the global housing market a lot more competitive.
9. What changes to the way countries govern the development, deployment and/or use of emerging technologies (including AI) played an important role in the development of your world?
A. All potentially dangerous emerging technologies had to pass through the regulatory process of AWSAI, and almost all advanced AI was developed within AWSAI.
Sufficiently powerful experimental AI had to output to trained inspection teams, who would then report back to the research teams about the behaviors they’d seen. Inspection teams were somewhat in scarce supply, at first, requiring intensive training. By analogy: You wouldn’t leave a young child alone your house then let them converse with clever and potentially malign strangers trying to get through the door. Relative to a super-human system, we were as children holding the lock. Not just anyone could be allowed to speak to the strangers who visited.
Beyond that, any advanced researcher could propose the release of any sort of novel technology, but it essentially had to be approved at a 96% quorum (abstentions not counted) by one of the following bodies: World leaders, AWSAI residents, the current AWSAI technical and humanist principals.
Various mechanisms existed to anticipate and model the decisions of those authorities to streamline approval for generally safe classes of technology, for instance, models with no ongoing learning capacity which could be released in tamperproof hardware, or other “inert” outputs, like advanced materials.
Fortunately, we didn’t end up needing this, but there was also a scheduled “unraveling” set for 2480, at which point restrictions would be significantly loosened, then, 10 years later, removed, to make sure that we couldn’t accidentally end up in a condition of permanent technological stasis.
10. Pick a sector of your choice (education, transport, energy, healthcare, tourism, aerospace, materials etc.) and describe how that sector was transformed by AI in your world.
A. Around 2030, AI-assisted methods totally took over materials manufacturing research, drug experimentation, and factory design. Almost as a straight line continuation of their takeover in chip design that began in 2020.
The greatest breakthrough was “OuroPlan”, a system that connected modelling, hypothesizing, experimentation, self-training, design, construction, manufacture and logistics.
By 2033, five years after its creation, a full 5% of the world’s factories were designed and constructed by OuroPlan, including the factories that build the construction robots OuroPlan used to construct the factories. Novel materials and their manufacture methods were hypothesized, then confirmed and refined via automatic experimentation, or the self-generation of training data. Much of this was enabled by the arrival of the capacity for abstraction: Building conceptual approximations, relating low-level quantum phenomena to newtonian and economic approximations.
It was an extremely powerful system in every sense of the word. This made many alignment strategists very uncomfortable. Fortunately, OuroPlan’s experimentation and self-training processes were simple, it wasn’t applicable to gathering experimental data on a world full of humans who observe, react to, and interfere with its designs. Unlike later AGI, it didn’t start out with self-reflection and go from there, it began in motion, without self-reflection, it could not model systems of agents, nor fix its own guilelessness, and this deficiency was used to keep it controllable.
11. What is the life expectancy of the most wealthy 1% and of the least wealthy 20% of your world; how and why has this changed since 2021?
A. Given Patou School’s estimates, the mean life-expectancy for anyone who takes their life-extension treatment, Brightmoss, will depend on their pre-existing condition of health, but other tempered intimate that the stated estimate of a “78%” extension was always understated, and in reality a treatment like Brightmoss could have granted biological immortality, but that it was artificially limited to about 190 years because an immortality drug would have had, counterintuitively, less uptake.
After Brightmoss, it’s expected that the majority of the population will be ready to choose to be “tempered”, which grants an indefinite lifespan.
In the long-term, neither of these treatments will cost anything. Brightmoss is currently distributed for free in abundance by autonomous drones resembling doves, which can be readily encountered hanging around anywhere humans live. As of 2045, Tempering treatment is fairly affordable, given the value proposition, at around 3800 USD (inflation-adjusted to 2022 USD equivalent). Supply of mobile clinics is rapidly increasing, and representatives of the tempering clinic program estimate that they will be able to make them free by 2060, which will arrive long before the limits of Brightmoss’s life-extension effects are expected to start to start crashing down on anyone.
In short, everyone (who would like to) is going to make it.
12. In the US, considering the human rights enumerated in the UN declaration, which rights are better respected and which rights are worse respected in your world than in 2022? Why? How?
In one other country of your choice, which rights are better respected and which rights are worse respected in your world than in 2022? Why? How?
A. In 2022, relatively little of life was recorded, and many of the most horrible crimes either:
– Went unpunished, violating Article 3 for their victim, enabling the assailant to deprive them of life, liberty and security of person.
– Or were punished without evidence, on the basis of testimony alone, violating Article 11: “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”
By 2034, we had “witness meshes”, self-maintaining networks of tamperproof, encrypted recording and storage devices. Whenever a crime was witnessed by a person, any witness who was present at the time could use the witness mesh to decrypt video evidence, meaning that violent crime could finally be policed thoroughly and effectively, and that charges never had to rely exclusively on testimony.
Transhumanism, the means to change one’s nature, constituted a surprise victory for Article 5. “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” In 2022, cruel, degrading punishments were just part of the legal system, it couldn’t run without them. In 2045, punishment has almost no applications. Any problem that could be foreseen could be prevented with moral augmentations, any problem that could not be foreseen was generally treated with reform, and little to no punishment.
We could say some interesting things about Article 21.3, but we have hit the word limit.
13. What’s been a notable trend in the way that people are finding fulfillment?
A. In orbit of the sun, the tempered have been building structures they call “cliques”, named after the network type in which every point is directly connected to every other point. That’s the intent of them, to fully connect so many kindred people together at once and then to dialog, build, and play all together. I could talk about the kinds of mathematical investigations of love and their striving evolutionary contests kept humane by vitruvian laws woven into their gardens’ very physics. It should be summed up as Good. Regarding fulfillment, the trend is that they are creating a whole lot of it.
But I don’t want to talk about the contents of the cliques. A lot of it is difficult for untempered people to understand, and it’s more practical for us to discuss the novel trends in fulfillment that played a role in getting us there.
So, people expected virtual reality to lead to a retreat from actual reality. What happened instead is that actual reality *moved into* virtual reality. The games in there were great, but socializing turned out to be a stronger draw, because everyone was there. It was as if Twitter Spaces had worked out, only here there were customizable avatars and body language. Gaming couldn’t compete with it. Oration became a performance art and everyone in the world got caught up in it.
A stray philosopher-engineer. Oscillating between designing positive-sum games, gnawing away at the foundational technical and cultural impediments to building fully civically robust news and discussion systems, and worrying about the alignment problem. W: https://aboutmako.makopool.com