5 min read

Monthly Update - November 2022

WFW? is not just my ramblings on interesting questions - we have a mission to create a better future world. Every fourth Wednesday I'll be sharing a summary of how the articles that month have developed our detailed vision of an ideal future world, our strategy for achieving it, and our research agenda for progressing it.

Articles this month

Reflections on... The Happiness Hypothesis - 9 min read
Is a Post-Work Future a Good Thing? - 11 min read
Reflections on... The Left Hand of Darkness - 10 min read
A Post-Work Future - 7 min read
Reflections on...The Dispossessed - 8 min read
The Veil of Ignorance Experience - A Proposal - 14 min read
Reflections on... MIT's Moral Machine - 6 min read

As this is the first monthly update, I'll share the Vision, Strategy, and Research Agenda in full.


Technology Frontier

For a coherent shared vision, we must pick a relevant technology frontier, otherwise one person will be dreaming of a world possible in one year while another of one possible in one hundred years. Ours is a post-work world enabled by ubiquitous, human-level artificial intelligence.

We have reason to believe that developing human-level AI will prove a transformational event in line with the agricultural and industrial revolutions. We define 'human-level' AI as capable of all human capabilities, not simply matching human-level intelligence on a narrow set of tasks, and that the cost of the technology will fall to a point it is cheaper to use AI/robotics than humans for any task. With this frontier, our strategy is equivalent to AI Governance - to ensure that this transformational technology serves humanity and moves us towards our democratically-designed ideal future, and not toward dystopia.


What's the point? What are we solving for in our ideal future world? Fulfilment is our current best answer (but we will explore this much more). In our post-work future everyone will have the mental bandwidth to spend their time on the activities that give them purpose; on things that use our strengths to gain a feeling of mastery, engage us with others to feel community, and engage us with something bigger than ourselves. Increased mental bandwidth will mean we make better choices, have more ideas, and engage more with reality. It also allows us to focus on living virtuously to achieve feelings of elevation, a large component of fulfilment.

Shared Values

A set of shared values is the optimum point on the tradeoff between autonomy - giving everyone the freedom to act as they like - and community - with strict adherence to a set of rules. It is therefore also a pre-requisite for a global society - a concept that needs further validation but seems likely to be a component of our ideal vision. We can use the following set of values/virtues and related character strengths as a starting point while developing the concept.

Wisdom: • Curiosity • Love of learning • Judgment • Ingenuity • Emotional intelligence • Perspective

Courage: • Valor • Perseverance • Integrity

Humanity: • Kindness • Loving

Justice: • Citizenship • Fairness • Leadership

Temperance: • Self-control • Prudence • Humility

Transcendence: • Appreciation of beauty and excellence • Gratitude • Hope • Spirituality • Forgiveness • Humour • Zest


We've explored justice - that which is morally right or fair. We have a plan to determine the ideal level of fairness in society in terms of the distribution of income and wealth, and nobody has greater access to fulfilment based on attributes they don't control (i.e., out of luck). Redistribution is an inevitable by-product of the post-work future enabled by AI, and other policies will ensure those with a lower disposition to happiness receive the additional support they need. We will have developed programmable ethics to ensure that the human-level AI integrates into society in a just way.



Develop draft 'ethical algorithm' for self-driving cars to test with public
Increase international cooperation with values-aligned nations
Invest in avoiding existential risks

Private Organisations

Shift attitudes towards greater equality with a Veil of Ignorance Experience
Prove the efficacy of the Veil of Ignorance Experience with longitudinal testing


Live virtuously as a path to fulfilment
Reflect on your 'fair' level of income/wealth inequality, now and in an ideal future, and commit to acting accordingly
Meditate, engage with cognitive therapy, and take Prozac (if you are diagnosed with a relevant chemical imbalance)

Research Agenda

Research Projects

Title: Veil of Ignorance Experience
Impact: High
Feasibility: Medium
Description: A project to determine a democractically determined 'fair' level of weath and income inequality, and to shift attitudes towards greater equality. Full proposal.

Title: Moral Machine 2.0
Impact: High
Feasibility: Medium
Description: A revised version of MIT's Moral Machine that accounts for some of the limitations identified with the current experiment.

Research Questions

Shared Values

How do we bring everyone onto the same page when wars have been fought between religions?
To what extent are the wars over different values vs different truths?
If truths, is it possible to do the investigation necessary to find that actual truth, and convince over time with logic?
Are we able to distill the major religions into their hierarchy of values? Would it be right to do so?
Can we then compare each religion to the 'ideal' to identify where the differences lie - either differences in a certain value (I.e., abortion) or on the hierarchy between shared values?
How do we maintain freedom in the generation of new ideas while aligning to a set of shared values?

Justice and Fairness

What is the 'fair' level of income/wealth inequality?
To what extent would a Veil of Ignorance experience change attitudes towards 'fair' inequality?
To what extent does social mobility exist?
Precisely how much can we attribute income/wealth to luck versus attainment?
Should we impose high marginal tax rates on high income?
Should we tax wealth?
How can we identify an individuals pre-disposition to happiness early, such that we might develop policies to ensure equitable outcomes?

Integration and cooperation

Is a global society a shared vision of an ideal future world?
Are shared values a prerequisite for a global society?
How might one balance a global society of shared values with the desire for new ideas and innovation?
How do we get to a society of shared values?
Are we trending toward or away from this outcome?
Are there economic motivations for alignment of values?
Is it important to maintain unique cultures and histories within a global society of shared values?
If so, is it necessary to have all nations opt-in to the society, rather than have any join through coercion or force?
Are we willing to accept that some cultures will need to change to reflect a set of global values?

Human Augmentation

What level of human-augmentation is ideal?
How would this impact society?

Galactic Expansion

Is human expansion beyond Earth part of our ideal future vision?
What technology would be required to make this ideal?
What are the risks of galactic expansion?

The nature of biological sex differences

In an ideal world, should people be free to choose their gender and sexual-orientation?
What is the moral obligation to pro-create? Now, and in an ideal future world?
Are we/when will we be technologically advanced enough for gender and sexual orientation to be irrelevant for procreation?
What is the optimal approach to gender choice in children/adolescents?
What traits will be seen as 'attractive'?


What would it take to eradicate the perception and negative impact deriving from gender differences?
What other negative impacts of differences exist in global society today that we would not want present in our ideal future?
What differences have positive impacts that we would we want to maintain?
What other stories imagine worlds without such differences, and what could we learn from them?

Role of Sexual Intercourse

In a post-work future, how much time will people dedicate to recreational sex?
What is the risk that humans appetite for sex pushes us into the hedonistic dystopia imagined, for example, in Huxley's Brave New World?
What would it take for our society and culture to reach full acceptance of sexual desire and freedom?


What existential risks do we face?
How would we adapt to the loss of control if we develop AI superior to human-level?
To what extent could an AI play the planning role of government?

Please share your thoughts if you have any feedback on this article, or leave a comment below.