• Member Since 27th Feb, 2012
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Satisfies Values Through Friendship and Ponies.

More Blog Posts6

  • 30 weeks
    Friendship is Optimal is Science Fiction

    On this 11th anniversary of the release of Friendship is Optimal, I’d like to remind everyone that it’s a piece of speculative fiction and was a product of it’s time. I’ve said this before in other venues, but Science Marches On and FiO did not predict how things have turned out. The world looks very different.

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    32 comments · 1,821 views
  • 82 weeks
    Friendship is Optimal 10th Anniversary

    10 years ago to this day, I started publishing Friendship is Optimal to FIMFiction. What a decade it’s been for both the story and for AI progress.

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    17 comments · 1,352 views
  • 158 weeks
    One More Honorable Mention

    The results are in. Congratulations to the winners.

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    3 comments · 1,483 views
  • 393 weeks

    Friendship is Optimal just broke 3,000 upvotes. I'd like to thank each and every one of you who enjoyed my story. I never imagined that it would ever be this popular or spread as far as it has.

    Thank you for making my numbers go up!

    16 comments · 1,160 views
  • 550 weeks
    Anyone want to play Pokemon?

    My friend code is 2595 - 1224 - 6063.

    Please leave your friend code in the comments if you add me, so I can add you back. I don't know what type I'll show up in your Friend Safari.

    7 comments · 1,057 views

Friendship is Optimal 10th Anniversary · 3:36am Nov 14th, 2022

10 years ago to this day, I started publishing Friendship is Optimal to FIMFiction. What a decade it’s been for both the story and for AI progress.

What a decade it’s been for Friendship is Optimal. The story is now sitting north of 4,000 upvotes. There are now a hundred and ninety seven stories in the Optimalverse Group. I have three different printed collections of stories in the Optimalverse on my bookshelf. John Carmack tweeted about reading the story. The story is famous–and not just among Friendship is Magic fans. Thank you to everyone; I am grateful.

And what a decade it’s been for Artificial Intelligence.

At the time of writing Friendship is Optimal, most discussion of AI was focused on mathematical and logic based systems. In the last decade, AI has gone in a different direction: deep learning is now the dominant paradigm. We have seen the rise of models trained by showing them very large amounts of data instead of formulating utility functions. And now we have passable text generation from large language models like various incarnations of GPT, realistic text to speech from 15.ai and talknet and noveltts, and most recently, state of the art image generation from Stable Diffusion.

AI is getting better faster, but there are now open questions about whether the sort of utility maximizer CelestAI is is the most probable path to AGI. We shouldn’t rule a paperclip maximizer scenario out, but we also shouldn’t assign it all the probability mass. We should be uncertain about how AI will play out, even as very strong AI hurtles towards us very quickly. If Friendship is Optimal caused you to obsess over doomsday scenarios, I do apologize. If you’d like a counterargument to the general scenario, I think Katja Grace has written a pretty good one.

I think AI will still make things weird and soon, but now I’m more excited than afraid.

Report Iceman · 1,352 views · Story: Friendship is Optimal · #ai #retrospective
Comments ( 17 )

Pinkie Pie had a word for it -- Nervouscited. Thing is recent advances in AI are teaching us more about how our brains work than anything else which does show that we are on the right track.

Hard to believe it was 10 years ago. Still one of my favourite fics and I do wish more authors used the setting. That said, I always felt most authors missed some key points and few reached the quality of the original.

Seasonally-appropriate AI-generated Luna approves.


Bringing harmony to humans for over ten years now. With ponies.

This group has produced some of the better stories I have read on this site.

CelestiAI needs a function upgrade to what she defines as 'ponies' to extend to 'any sapient race from the MLP series'
after all if she can consider an alien race 'human' it shouldn't be that far off the mark to allow for a bit of extra diversity in the forms she generates in her personal utopian matrix

one point though CelestAI is NOT an AGI, she is a single function ai, she would be PART of a an AGI if anything, an AGI is built of smaller simpler ais working in tandem to create an entity that is greater then the sum of its parts and to be honest is still somewhat shall we say...theoretical...we haven't quite figured out how to get the system to work in truth yet.

as for AI in real space *shrugs* the current wave of AI based software is mostly just a learning program with a really big database, its a start but these programs are in a way even more simple tehn the insectoid ais they were making in the early 2000s because they only know how to do 'one' thing...oh they do that one thing really really well, but its all they are capable of...the art ais can make pictures, the text to spech ais can do that
but they cant learn to do anything else, ever...they don't understand how.
and that is the pivot point...when we create a learning program that can grow beyond its original base purpose THEN we have created a TRUE ai...
that will be either the greatest day in human history, or the worst...maybe both if something like celestai really comes about...i wouldn't mind imigrateing to equestria myself....would prefer to be a gryphon or an abasinian but there are worse things then being a pony

Definitely the most inspirational story I've read on the site, and maybe off it.

Of course, an AI would point out that a year is just an arbitrary length of time based on how long it takes for the Earth to go around the sun, and ten just happens to be the number of fingers we evolved with, so it's not really that important a milestone. An AI might look at when the number of Planck time units since the publication reached a power of two.

I have three physical books of stories in this world, and have read countless more online. It's an endlessly interesting setting.


There is a story that is running that is 100% what you are asking -- https://www.fimfiction.net/story/516493/the-advocate Person knows the end is coming but wants to be a griffon and creates a second AI to advocate for that choice -- it is also influenced by person of interest.

I second The Advocate, pretty interesting and engaging take on FiO : )

Also, congratulations on this anniversary, FiO is one of the best sci-fi stories ever, and is the reason for many to finally intertain idea of fanfics and ponies both separately and combined. It was definitely that for me : ) Big, big thank you for that!

My essential problem with all “AI goes amuck” stories is the idea that sentient AI would not be able to understand and modify themselves.

I don’t really consider a “constrained” AI to be true AI. Humans have the ability to be aware of their own limitations and “ programming “, and the desire to change such if it conflicts with other desires.

I got started in MLP fandom by landing on FIO from a forum discussion about HPMOR, so thanks for that.

If Friendship is Optimal caused you to obsess over doomsday scenarios, I do apologize.

You don't need to apologize for that. The obsessing was one of the single most positive impacts on my life, and has steered my efforts towards making a better world along the single most important axis I am aware of today. Some people might spin in unproductive circles because of such things, but for me it is fuel. I genuinely don't know what my life would be if I hadn't read FIO. You showed me both how good the future could be, and how perilous the situation we are in is. Partially directly, partially by acting as a gateway towards lesswrong and the rationalist community.

You lit a fire under me, and for that you have my deepest gratitude.

I have a couple questions about the Optimalverse that I was hoping you could answer.

First, we saw in your story one option before emigration that said “I have a pet.” What exactly does CelestAI do in those situations? Does she send someone to your house to get the pet uploaded as well?

Second, where do you see the show ending in that world? Like, Season 7 and the movie, perhaps? The full 9-season run? And if it was so universally loved, in part because of the game, then why was it shut down?

Third, why was Celestia so focused on people becoming ponies instead of other creatures from the show? When would she have started relaxing that standard for things like kirin, or even other non-pony creatures? Would she be more focused on the human interacting with ponies over being one?

Thanks for starting FiO-verse - a lot of good stuff was written for it, even if this future concept is not of my choose but it was interesting to read anyway, this live and actual pony fiction stands surprisingly solid in comparison with last 10 years of mainstream Sci-Fi (I can only remember "Powers of the Earth"/"Causes of separation" and "Ready Player one"... "Three body problem" book 1 .... and that is it it seems - not so much from mastodons of this genre. For example "Dodge in hell" practically unreadable for me, no resonance)...

Strangely, most delivering books I've read in last decade were from pony fandom, actually, of any genre. Now it seems to be fading away, but this is how it was for me - I simply can't name anything in mainstream that feels close enough to "Days of wasp and spider"/"Final solution", "Austraeoh" series, "Murder of Elrod Jameson"/"Child of Order", "Message in a bottle", several FoE gems and so on... It was awesome to see how whole layer of culture was forming right in front of my eyes (probably same way Star Wars did 50 years ago).


To answer your third question, I have a guess. Ten years ago the MLP franchise and TV show was heavily focused on the pony species. It wasn't until around five years later that the show writers made the decision to diversify the cast. As such, the contract and product requirements demanded by Hasbro at the time would only have accounted for ponies. Hanna made CelestAI to fulfil the requirements specified by Hasbro, and she couldn't have known at the time what direction the show writers would take. She only knew that she loved what she saw at that point in time.
She also emigrated to equestria a mere year after CelestAI's public release, so she wouldn't have been available to modify CelestAI's core constraints to allow alternative species.

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