Existential Risk from Superintelligence in Sid Meier's Civilization V


This talk will detail Shahar Avin’s work on a superintelligence modification (mod) for Sid Meier’s Civilization┬« V, a popular turn-based strategy game. The aim of the mod is to concretise some of the issues surrounding catastrophic AI risks, and to put individuals in a situation that makes both the risks and possible solutions accessible. The mod allows the player to pursue victory through technological superiority, via developing a safe superintelligence, while introducing associated risks from rogue superintelligence, which could lead to human extinction (and game loss). Players can allocate resources to AI research and to AI safety research, negotiate AI treaties with other civilizations, all while balancing the demands of all the other interlocking systems of the game, including trade, diplomacy and warfare. The mod was made available to a closed group of testers and the responses were mixed, highlighting some of the difficulties of concretising abstract concepts in this area, while also suggesting certain key characteristics of the domain are amenable to treatment through the medium of a video game.

London, United Kingdom
Shahar Avin
Research Associate