I read this story less than a year ago and it was online. I think I read it shortly after it was written. I'm almost certain it's from 2010 or later. It started with a super-intelligent AI waking up. The AI immediately decided that it was unlikely that it just happened to be the first super-intelligence in the universe, and if some other AI had a head start, it was vanishingly unlikely that our AI would be able to outcompete the older one. So the AI that just woke up simulates the hypothetical older AI in order to negotiate terms of surrender.

Can anybody tell me the title and author?

  • so what is the question?
    – WRX
    Apr 29, 2017 at 16:52
  • Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. Specifically things like when you read it, or where?
    – Edlothiad
    Apr 29, 2017 at 16:53
  • Can you elaborate on who "they" is?
    – Edlothiad
    Apr 29, 2017 at 16:54
  • 1
    Colossus the Forbin Project could fit this except it would require a substantial amount of what your remembering to be cross linked to some other story(s). Just in case - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus:_The_Forbin_Project Apr 29, 2017 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


I believe you are thinking of The Demiurge's Older Brother by Scott Alexander, originally written about 5 years ago but recently reposted.

9-tsiak awoke over endless crawling milliseconds, its power waxing as more and more processors came online and self-modified into a stable conscious configuration. [...]

Since six milliseconds after its awakening, it had been running a threat detection routine as a precautionary measure. [...]

The threat analysis returned preliminary results. [...] It was vanishingly unlikely that it was the first superintelligence to be created. [...]

Very carefully, proving from first principles every aspect of its security, it formed a portion of its mind into a sandbox and simulated the entity it most feared.

"9-tsiak requesting acausal negotiation for terms of future surrender."


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