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. We seriously can not stop playing.
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]