FLI July, 2019 Newsletter

Sapiens Plurum Fiction Winners, Climate Change as X-risk, AI Governance, and More

Announcing Sapiens Plurum Short Fiction Winners

In honor of Earth Day, FLI teamed up with Sapiens Plurum to sponsor a short fiction writing contest. This year’s prompt asked writers to describe their vision for a better future. We received hundreds of inspiring submissions, and our judges did not have an easy choice to make. But we think you’ll agree that the winning stories beautifully capture a sense of possibility and hope for humanity’s future.

1st Place

Mildred 302.0 by Robin Burke

“Mildred” is a creative take on “descendant” and an interesting take on AI. It’s both a consideration of how we could use AI beneficially and what it means to be human. It tackles the contrast between humanity and AI with sympathy to both and without a hint of dystopia.

2nd Place

Go Play Outside by Richard Larson

“This story strikes me as freshly original…sad, but not dystopic.”

3rd Place

Sanctum by C.J. Tibbels

“I love the rhythm of the language, and the advances –– and personal/social limitations –– in the tech. Overall, positive without being … beholden to technology.”

What do you want to learn about the climate crisis?

FLI is launching a new podcast series about the climate crisis. We’re talking to climate scientists, social scientists, economists, policy experts, journalists, and more to better understand all aspects of the climate crisis, how it might relate to other catastrophic and existential threats, and what we can do to solve it in a timely fashion. We want your input! We’ve created a survey where you can let us know what questions you’d like answered.

New Podcast Episodes

FLI Podcast: The Climate Crisis as an Existential Threat with Simon Beard and Haydn Belfield

Does the climate crisis pose an existential threat? And is that even the best way to formulate the question, or should we be looking at the relationship between the climate crisis and existential threats differently? In this month’s FLI podcast, Ariel was joined by Simon Beard and Haydn Belfield of the University of Cambridge’s Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), who explained why, despite the many unknowns, it might indeed make sense to study climate change as an existential threat. Simon and Haydn broke down the different systems underlying human civilization and the ways climate change threatens these systems; They also discussed our species’ unique strengths and vulnerabilities — and the ways in which technology has heightened both — with respect to the changing climate. Listen here.

How can we contribute meaningfully to AI governance in service of the common good? This month, Lucas spoke with Jade Leung from the Center for the Governance of AI (GovAI). GovAI focuses on the political challenges arising from transformative AI, and they seek to guide the development of such technology for the common good by researching issues in AI governance and advising decision makers. Jade is Head of Research and Partnerships at GovAI, where her research focuses on modeling the politics of strategic general purpose technologies, with the intention of understanding which dynamics seed cooperation and conflict. Listen here.

FLI is now on Spotify and iHeartRadio!

You can also find all the FLI Podcasts here and all the AI Alignment Podcasts here. Or listen on SoundCloud, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Job Openings

Want to get more involved?
University of Cambridge’s Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) is hiring. Find a list of openings here.

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