Earlier this year, a joint team of researchers from CSER and LFCFI entered the Future of Life Institute’s (FLI) worldbuilding competition, for which they have been awarded Second Prize. The competition sought to challenge entrants to develop aspirational and optimistic worlds in which Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) exists, beginning in 2045. As part of the competition, the team were tasked with developing a detailed timeline of how their world came to be, alongside ‘day in the life’ stories, and to develop a unique creative piece. The team also completed a detailed account of their world; including answering a series of questions on what this future looked like in terms of impacts of global infrastructures, how AI was used to solve major global challenges, and on the complexities of how the world avoided a ‘race to the precipice’, for AGI development.
The combined CSER and CFI team comprised John Burden, Jessica Bland, Henry Shevlin, Lara Mani, Catherine Richards, Beba Cibralic and Clarissa Rios Rojas, with guidance and support from a wider team at CSER and CFI.
Summary of the world ‘Meraki’
It’s 2045. AGI has existed for five years. The world is changing rapidly in a state of flux. The near worldwide integration of the Cores system has enabled a level of international coordination and cooperation never seen before. Human society is becoming more centralised, yet in many ways it is more decentralised than ever. This is the paradox of the Core system.
Underground in unclaimed Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica, lies the largest supercomputer ever built, designed to host Core Central: the overseer and chief administrative hub directing Continental and Regional Cores that provide varying administrative operations to local regions. Many key facets of society also have corresponding specialised subcores under Core Central. Cores are necessarily distributed and largely autonomous because of physical limitations on communication and processing power. Yet communication between Cores is a near-constant flow of information, updates and directives.
Despite the monumental scale of the Core system, most people rarely notice them or interact with them during their daily lives. Too incomprehensibly alien and distant for human interaction, the Core system forms an invisible web connecting human society. Avatars were created to bridge the gap between human and Core, providing a more familiar type of mind to interface with the Cores. The Avatars are often embodied, jovial individuals, and appear to have mental states. Yet, they too are constantly in communication with Cores and other Avatars, updating knowledge bases and receiving instructions. Within society Avatars are often found as teachers, doctors, therapists, and diplomats.
Although a somewhat centralised system, The Cores have been able to support local movements - noticing and harnessing ideas for increasing equality or better healthcare and education worldwide. People are becoming free from the necessities of labour. Many choose to spend their additional time pursuing education, or taking on new hobbies, or searching for fulfilment in other ways.
The Preservation and Alignment Organisation was founded shortly after the advent of the Cores as a new specialised agency of the UN. PAO is notable for being the first social institution created by an AI system. It employs Alignment Corroboration Officers (both human and Avatar), who ensure that Core Central takes into account a multitude of values and cultures from around the world when making decisions. Systems as powerful and widespread as the Cores could be incredibly dangerous without appropriate safety measures in place, such as PAO. Yet more important was the vast increase in funding to AI alignment that occurred in the late 2020s onwards, allowing humanity to safely take the first steps towards building AGI and the bright future that lies ahead.
The full entry to competition ‘Meraki’’ can be accessed here: