There’s good news for every Sid Meier’s Civilization V fan looking to make their late game a bit more complicated. A new mod sponsored by the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk allows players to research “superintelligence” technologies as part of the game’s tech tree, bringing along some serious consequences for ambitious players who plow through the research a bit too fast.
The mod, which can be downloaded through the Steam Workshop, adds several new technological advancements to the game, such as “Machine Learning” and “Orthogonality Thesis.” Researching these traits allows players to create new buildings within the game, including the “Deep Blue” Wonder based on IBM’s iconic chess computer. In the right hands, that means superintelligence can help users win the game through a major boost to science.
Advancing too quickly without properly controlling the superintelligence technologies, however, can lead to artificial intelligence eliminating humanity after realizing that human beings are getting in the way of its goals. So while researching AI technology, players also have to make sure superintelligence remains under human control by monitoring rogue AI. Otherwise, the entire game will end for all players involved.
The superintelligence mod primarily exists to teach players about the risks involved with advanced AI, as well as how society can control AI as to prevent humanity from suffering a major crisis at computers’ hands.
“We want to let players experience the complex tensions and difficult decisions that the path to superintelligent AI would generate,” project manager Dr. Shahar Avin explained to Rock, Paper, Shotgun. “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.”