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The Centre For The Study Of Existential Risk have made a Civ V mod about apocalyptic AI

It's the end of the world as we know it

Researchers at the University of Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (an actual real institution) have released a Civilization V mod exploring the hot new apocalypse everyone's talking about: unchecked AI casually wiping out humanity in the name of efficiency. If you've already clicked through the universe as a single-minded AI in Frank Lantz's ace Paperclips, you might fancy this mod. Trapping a brilliant mind in a metal box does also have its benefits, you know.

The Superintelligence mod adds a number of AI technologies to the tech tree. This AI could help you usher in utopia and win or, if you don't research enough tech to keep it in check, wipe out humanity as it converts the Earth into a giant fractal chessboard or summat to optimise everything towards its task (see above). Win some, lose some.

"We want to let players experience the complex tensions and difficult decisions that the path to superintelligent AI would generate," said the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk's Dr. Shahar Avin, who managed the project.

"Games are an excellent way to deliver a complex message to a wide audience. The Civilization games series has an amazing track record of presenting very complex and interlocking systems in a fun and educating way, including major risk issues such as nuclear war and global warming."

Consider yourselves educated. The CSER's website has more cheery reading about this and other existential threats too, by the way.

The mod is actually made by developer Shai Shapira. You can download it from the Steam Workshop in versions for either regular Civ V or with the Brave New World expansion.

It's comforting to imagine that humanity's end will be something sci-fi and exciting, isn't it? Stop fretting over the doomsday that's actually brewing--it's so mundane!--and relax with an electric dream.

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.