This page is an incomplete collection of fiction about the development of advanced AI, and the consequences for society. Entries are generally included if we judge that they contain enough that is plausible or correctly evocative to be worth considering, in light of AI futurism. The list includes works created for the purpose of better understanding the future of AI, as well as those intended for other purposes such as mainstream entertainment. We welcome further submissions here.
Stories intended as AI futurism
These are stories intended to clarify, explore or appreciate possible future AI scenarios.
Vignettes for iterative improvement
These stories are written by people known to us—largely AI Impacts staff and participants at our workshops—with the intention of incrementally improving their realism via comments. All are in commentable form, and we welcome criticism, especially of departures from realism.
In which slow development of robotics serves as a bottleneck to full automation of human labor, and a slow takeoff eventually leads to a future in which values substantially different from current human values are optimized.
#slow-takeoff #robotics #long-term-value-loss
In which early automation of R&D leads to near-term AGI takeoff, but robust tools for prediction and AI interpretation lead to a not-clearly-catastrophic outcome.
Generated using Daniel’s “Generate Future” widget.
#narrow-tools #prediction #interpretability #hardware-boom #intelligence-explosion #race
In which transfer learning allows game-playing AI to take over parts of middle management and eventually capture the entire economy in a way that is misaligned with human values.
In which our internal narrativizing is automated. (Not well fleshed out.)
In which the epistemic world is transformed by non-agentic persuasion AI.
Other realism-oriented stories
These are stories from elsewhere in the AI or AI risk community, e.g. LessWrong.
1) A slow-rolling catastrophe from getting what we measure, and 2) a rapid catastrophe from influence-seeking behavior.
“This is a story where the alignment problem is somewhat harder than I expect, society handles AI more competently than I expect, and the outcome is worse than I expect. It also involves inner alignment turning out to be a surprisingly small problem.”
Five scenarios in which competitive pressures force automation across the economy, at a pace that does not allow for sufficient safety. Illustrative of hypothesized existential risk arising from coordination failures, regardless of individual alignment.
#multi-polar #doom #slow-takeoff
Tax evasion is attempted in a future with AI-facilitated cooperation.
Consciousness arises in GPT-3.
Mainstream AI fiction
These are works of fiction not (as far as we know) designed primarily to contribute to AI futurism. We include both prominent works, and those which we think contain at least something of interest in thinking about the future of AI. This list is incomplete. We have not necessarily read or watched all of them.
Universal Pictures, 1970
Superhuman defense system attempts to take global power.
#takeover #military-action #superhuman-agent #singleton
Various media and authors, 1984-present
A military AI system attempts to exterminate humanity for reasons of self-preservation. People and cyborg assassins travel through time.
Written by Jack Paglen, directed by Wally Pfister, 2014
A scientist uploads his mind to a computer and becomes vastly more capable than any human.
Written/directed by Alex Garland, 2014
A software engineer is tasked with performing a Turing test on an artificial general intelligence with a humanoid body.
Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom, 1965-1988
Four novels in which an AI that is created out of necessity during space travel shapes the future of a human colony on a planet called Pandora.
Written and directed by Spike Jonze, 2013
A man falls in love with his virtual assistant.
Ira Levin, 1970
Residents of a future world controlled entirely by a central computer attempt to gain freedom.
Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, Denis Villeneuve, 1968-2017
A bounty hunter is tasked with tracking down synthetic humans in a dystopian future.
Ted Chiang, 1991
An experimental drug makes a man superhumanly intelligent.
Vernor Vinge, 1992
Superintelligences occupy some parts of the universe. Creatures with various other kinds of minds persist.
[Content warning: we haven’t read this but hear that it contains intense torture scenes and maybe other extreme things.]
Roger Williams 1994
According to Wikipedia, ‘deals with the ramifications of a powerful, superintelligent supercomputer that discovers god-like powers to alter reality while studying a quirk of quantum physics discovered during the prototyping of its own specialised processors, ultimately heralding a technological singularity.’