Wanna waste way too much of your time in the most glorious way possible? Enter Universal Paperclips, a free browser game that somehow manages to be even funnier and more addictive than Cookie Clicker.
In the game, you’re an artificial intelligence creator who makes paper clips — and eventually, with single minded focus, takes over the world. It’s basically a parable about the danger of making artificial intelligence with just a single objective.
Honestly think I’ve lost a whole day to making virtual paperclips now. It’s worse than twitter.— Neil Claxton (@MintRoyale) October 11, 2017
“I’ve always been interested in incremental games,” said game designer Frank Lantz in an email to GamesBeat. “I played one called Kittens Game that I really loved, and I wanted to make something like that, with lots of complex overlapping systems, only smaller and more focused. Also, I’ve been following the debate about AI safety with a lot of interest, and I thought that this would be a perfect theme for a clicker game. After all, when you play a game like this it gives you direct, first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a disembodied intelligence that is ruthlessly pursuing an arbitrary goal.”
The first octillion paperclips took 6 hours to make. The second, only 10 minutes. Earth was fully converted by the end of that 7th hour— John Brothers (@johndbro1) October 11, 2017
“For me, I love the way [incremental games] make abstract mathematical relationships feel palpable, concrete,” said Lantz. “The human brain isn’t really designed to intuitively understand things like exponential growth, but a good clicker game allows you to directly engage with these numerical patterns, to hold them in your hands and feel the weight of them. And of course, a good clicker game puts you directly in touch with the raw, goal-seeking id that is a fundamental part of your psyche, and that’s a scary and sometimes wonderful place to be, at least for a little while.”
Anyway, have fun getting absolutely nothing done tonight.
[h/t Venture Beat]