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The Future of Life Institute (FLI) invites individuals and teams to compete for a prize purse worth $100,000+ by designing visions of a plausible, aspirational future including artificial general intelligence. 

This post gives an overview of the contest and our reasons for running it. For full details on how to enter, visit


What is Worldbuilding?

Worldbuilding is the art and science of constructing a coherent and relatively detailed fictitious world. It is frequently practised by creative writers and scriptwriters, providing the context and backdrop for stories that take place in future, fantasy or alternative realities.


Overview of the Worldbuilding Contest

This contest challenges entrants to use worldbuilding to explore possible futures for our own world. 

Worldbuilding in this context is not prediction so builds need not reflect the most probable scenarios but...

I'm totally on board with the constraint that the future be good, that it be broadly appealing rather than just good-according-to-our-esoteric-morality.

What I'm worried about is that this contest will end up being a tool for self-deception (like Czynski said) because the goodness of the future correlates with important variables we can't really influence, like takeoff speeds and difficulty of the alignment problem and probability of warning shots and many other things. So in order to describe a good future, people will fiddle with the knobs of those import... (read more)

3kokotajlod24mI want to second what Czynski said about pure propaganda. Insofar as we believe that the constraints you are imposing are artificial and unrealistic, doesn't this contest fall into the "pure propaganda" category? I would be enthusiastically in favor of this contest if there weren't such unrealistic constraints. Or do you think the constraints are actually realistic after all? I think it's fine if we have broad leeway to interpret the constraints as we see fit. E.g. "Technology is improving rapidly because, while the AGI already has mature technology, humans have requested that advanced technology be slowly doled out so as not to give us too much shock. So technology actually used by humans is improving rapidly, even though the cutting-edge stuff used by AGI has stagnated. Meanwhile, while the US, EU, and China have no real power (real power lies with the AGI) the AGI follow the wishes of humans and humans still want the US, EU, and China to be important somehow so lots of decisions are delegated to those entities. Also, humans are gradually starting to realize that if you are delegating decisions to old institutions you might as well do so to more institutions than the US, EU, and China, so increasingly decisions are being delegated to African and South American etc. governments rather than US, EU, and China. So in that sense a 'balance of power between US, EU, and China has been maintained' and 'Africa et al are on the rise.'" Would you accept interpretations such as this?

Hey Team,

Since publishing an article on the Liberation Pledge with the Journal for Critical Animal Studies last February, i've repeatedly been encouraged to share the article to the EA Forum. So here it goes:

The Liberation Pledge entails a commitment to never eat alongside people consuming animal-based foods. In the article, i argue that the Liberation Pledge is an exceptionally effective tactic for individuals to challenge the diverse harms of Big Meat. Relatedly, i also argue that individual veganism absent the Liberation Pledge does little to affect change, and in some cases is counterproductive.

Like my article, i'll spare you the justification for why curbing the harms of Big Meat is urgent and important (as i suspect most on the EA Forum are already familiar). From that assumed starting...

Our world has many problems that need resolving, many of which are global in nature and require change at a systemic level. The problem of mass slaughter and commodification of animals is indeed a global problem that will, in part, require systemic solutions. But one of the merits of veganism is the opportunity for an individual to make an impact (and quite literally save lives) through their decision to not eat animals three times a day. 

I see the same merits with the Liberation Pledge in that it provides an (additional) opportunity to the compassion... (read more)

2Ally Goddard1hI fully support this 1000% and more discussion about it!

Content warning: gambling is addictive and generally loses money. Please don't make any bets with negative expected value.

tl;dr: New York State recently legalized online sports gambling, so casinos are offering large incentives for signing up on their websites. I got about $4,400 out of this (you can probably do better; see below) and will be donating it to GiveWell. You must be located in New York or another eligible state while signing up and making the bets.

How to exploit this

There are various casinos, sportsbooks, and other gambling establishments located in New York State. Online sports gambling was legalized there in January 2022, so they are giving out introductory offers where they will match your deposits or give you free bets when you sign up. Basically, you can...

5martin_glusker2hI think I understand your confusion @shrek. There are two stages: the initial risk-free bet and then then free bet (if necessary). -- 1st bet, $1000 on +100 odds (50% implied probability) Win the bet: Payout is $2000 ($1000 stake, $1000 winnings) Lose the bet: Payout is $0 cash, $1000 free bet -- 2nd bet (only necessary if lost 1st bet), $1000 free bet on +100 odds Win: Payout is $1000 cash Lose: Payout is $0 -- The EV calculation is then: 0.5 x 2000 + 0.5 x ((0.5 x 1000) + (0.5 x 0)) = $1250 Thus we see that it is positive EV. This can get much fancier, and you can optimize it for higher EV, lower risk, etc, but this shows the basic intuition.

Yep, that makes sense, thank you. I agree with your calculation and the positive EV result in this example, and I agree you could construct other bets with different EV / risk profiles.

As @KaseyShibayama originally noted above, this isn't risk-free, so these "risk-free bet" offers differ from the deposit bonuses OP describes, where one gets "free bet" money immediately and can keep the original deposit money to withdraw without risking any of it.

I still think OP's example here isn't quite right, because you can't easily convert the $1000 of site credit to ... (read more)

3martin_glusker2hEV is the same, you're just reducing volatility (risk is maybe a better word?) by guaranteeing the outcome either way. A downside is that the hedge does increase the necessary bankroll. That said EV does vary with how long the odds are.

Epistemic status: I probably have no idea what I'm talking about.

Prediction markets have several constraints due to laws against online gambling (at least in the US). PredictIt, for example, must operate as a nonprofit, limit each contract to 5,000 total traders, and limit investment to $850 per contract. [1]

Given the usefulness prediction markets, it would be great if we could remove these contraints on financial incentives for the users and operators of these platforms. [2] Currently, we rely on fake internet points for incentive on websites like Metaculus; although, people do seem to like those.

So, I tried to think of an alternative model. In a betting market, the winners are paid with the losers' money. Instead, imagine the prediction platform is a bank. Forecasters deposit money in the bank, and...

1acylhalide13hFair enough. P.S. Your suggestion could also be done by non-US developers on the blockchain, since it's legally ambiguous. That way the developers can't be sued, it's mainly the users which is harder.
10harsimony14hI think another possible route around gambling restrictions to prediction markets is to ensure all proceeds go to charity, but the winners get to choose which charity to donate to. I wrote about this more here: []

Great idea! Makes me think, it would be interesting to see a political prediction market where the winnings go to your preferred candidate in the race. Not sure about if that would have a positive impact, but would be cool to study.

Edit: Just read your post and see that you discuss this haha

I'm interested in any historical examples people have of altruistic actions taken primarily to benefit future generations, which don't have strong positive effects for current generations. (So e.g. most climate change mitigation efforts wouldn't count, if we expect climate change to have a big negative impact on people currently alive - but maybe some do?)

One example would be Benjamin Franklin bequeathing $2,000 to Boston and Philadelphia each, which could only be spent after 200 years

This crucial study not only uncovers what people in specific countries believe about chickens and fishes, but it also identifies which beliefs are associated with specific “animal-positive behaviors” — for example, willingness to reduce one’s chicken and fish consumption or sign a petition for welfare reform.

Read the full study here: 


According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, nearly 69 billion chickens were slaughtered in 2018 alone. That same year, fishes slaughtered worldwide weighed nearly 100 million tons. Many of the countries we have surveyed in this line of research—which were Brazil, Canada, China, India, and the United States—contribute in huge quantities to the enormous suffering of chickens and fishes. For example, China, the United States, and Brazil slaughtered more chickens than any other...

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The idea...

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