Thanks for posting this Adam! (For those that don’t know, I’m Damon)
I think another writing competition would be a good way to encourage stories like this, and am considering what the best way to structure that might be.
Meanwhile, to add a bit more to the sorts of stories I think would be good to see, I think fiction is powerful because it not just allows to grapple with unusual or alien ideas, but also, if written from the perspective of characters with rich inner lives, see the world through a different lens and perspective. When we’re engaged in a character’s experience, their thoughts and reactions and emotions, some part of us can download what it’s like to be that sort of person, and can give us a blueprint for how to act in that sort of situation.
Many people outside of the community don’t know what it’s like to be someone who grapples with problems this big, and many people inside of it are desperate for “better” ways to orient to topics that can be frightening, depressing, or painful to think of, such as widespread suffering in the world, or X-risk.
Which is why, among the other types of AI Fables I’d love to see is at least one story about the struggles, internal and external, of a character facing a problem that threatens the world, all while still mostly going about a day-to-day life.
Most stories don’t cover that in particular because most protagonists dealing with such stakes are in constant struggle against it throughout the story. But in our world, for X-risks we face, that’s just not true. Whether you’re trying to prevent nuclear winter or prevent unaligned AGI, you’ll end up spending most of your time among people or in a broader culture that isn’t particularly concerned about it, and in the latter case will likely think you’re kind of weird for worrying about it.
Characters in fiction can do more than entertain or inform us by their actions; they can also inspire us, and give us frames and mental models to help handle difficult emotional situations.
If you have ideas for short stories that might show that, or anything else Adam mentioned, feel free to message me too. Also feel free to reach out if you have thoughts on the best way to solicit such stories; I’m tentatively planning to put something together for late April or May.
Hey Blasted, thanks for sharing :) I remember enjoying Well, will try to check out the others when I get a chance.