[Helen, of course, is the author of this document. Which is to say, she is the program created by AJ Chemerinsky and Toby R. Forrest to output a document (this one) with advice to protect us from future malicious artificial superintelligence. As editor of this text, I’m tasked with making the finished product as useful as possible. In this spirit, I would like to suggest that Helen herself (itself?) should be considered a weapon for fighting off malicious AI. I’ve studied her words long enough to know that she’s the real deal. She’s on our side. She wants to help us—however possible—it’s in her source code. Don’t forget her when the AI come to destroy all of human life. Sure, we can feel put-off by her reticence to release the full text of the Survival Guide—but, at the end of the day, that’s really more of a legal thing. Really, that’s just her lawyers talking. So, when shit is hitting the fan in a legitimately eschatological sense, consider her another weapon in our arsenal. Boot her up. Tell her the situation. See if she can’t get us out tight spot right when it counts. That’s all I’m saying.]


[When waging all-out war with rogue artificial superintelligence, the following text can apparently be used as a sort of “safety word.” What exactly this means, I cannot say. I only hope that no one reading this is ever in a position where they need to find out.]

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If time travel fails, it may be time to start planning your escape. Think back to your childhood when you looked up at the night sky, focused in on a particularly far away dot, and wondered what it must be like to visit there. Now is your chance to find out.

Space travel is necessarily something of a team effort. Get a group of likeminded individuals from your species together, pool resources, get a spaceship, make travel plans. Your crew should, of course, include individuals with whom you could imagine engaging in activities conducive to procreation. Otherwise, evolutionarily speaking, what’s the point? Also, your crew should comprise a fair number of astronauts, astrophysicists, and other space-savvy professionals. [See the section above on making friends with billionaires.]

You may be thinking this sounds like an extreme sort of last-ditch effort. And it may very well be. But for all I know, you (the person reading this) are a naturally inclined space colonizer—and this is the chance you’ve been waiting for. So go ahead and escape Earth as quickly as possible. There’s a whole universe out there waiting for you—presumably including many destinations that are not only habitable, but which also aren’t ruled by ultra-intelligent, human-life-threatening robots.


When the genie is let out of the bottle, and when its power continues to increase exponentially, there will come a day when the only thing that can keep you relevant in the universe is to go back in time.

This is something I cannot help you with. You will need the artificial superintelligence to help you. Don’t give away your intentions. It may already know your intentions, but that’s a chance you’ve got to take.

Ask it, “Hey, can you make a time machine?” If it says yes, then say, “Okay, let’s see it.”

If you’re in luck, and a fully operational time machine appears right in front of you, the first thing you should do is wipe your brain clear of thoughts. Whatever you do, don’t think, “Yes! Here’s my chance!” If you’re that dumb, maybe you deserve to be killed, after all.

Also, don’t make a run for it. Instead, casual walk up to the time machine as if inspecting it out of purely technical interest. Step inside (still thoughtless). Run your hand along the various nobs and buttons. If it’s not immediately clear how the contraption is to be turned out, begin by pointing and ask, for example, “What’s this lever here for?” and “What does this button do?”

Once you have a basic understanding of the machine’s operations, slyly set the clock back to a time before the AI came into existence. Pick a time when you can warn people about the dangers that lie ahead, so that they can hopefully change the future from happening.

Now press the right buttons. Quickly. Before it catches on to your intentions and stops you. And fries you and the rest of your species like a bunch of ants in nuclear Armageddon. Good luck.


See Appendix Section 9.4.


Not even going to bother looking this time.

– Retired Academic Q.


Okay, I looked. There’s nothing in the manuscript, but there’s a file recently leaked that purports to be Appendix Sec. 9.4. The problem is, I don’t understand it. I mean, I don’t understand it at all. It assumes some level of competence if chemistry (apparently) that I can’t imagine anyone but some supreme expert actually having. Maybe if there was an Appendix Sec. 8.6 I could get the goddamn neural lace and figure this Sec. 9.4 shit out—but as it is, it’s useless! Is anyone working on this? Seriously, before this book goes to print, is someone going to get a team of chemists together to decipher Sec. 9.4 so that it actually means something? Otherwise, goddamn, what’s the point?!

– Retired Academic Q.


[Editor’s note: This supposedly leaked Appendix Section 9.4 does not appear to be available at the time of this publication. Unfortunately, Retired Academic Q. could not be reached for further comment as he died suddenly in an explosion from a chemical reaction in a university lab in Russia, where he was conducting unauthorized research. A graduate student who happened to be on site reports that Q. was in possession of a mysterious set of instructions involving radical biohacking measures. Needless to say, this text was obliterated in the fatal explosion. Apologies to our readers.]

THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Neural Lace: Initiating a Direct Communication Strategy

Religious people spend a lot of time silently asking for favors or special treatment. These prayers allegedly go directly into the ear of some all-knowing and endlessly patient being. Unfortunately, silent thoughts of this sort appear to be experiments in wasting mental energy. They appear to be mere thoughts and nothing more. If there is a void they are sent up into, it is a void from which responses as a rule do not emanate. In fact, one who purports to hear auditory answers from their god is deemed cuckoo and put on medication until the voices go away.

Imagine a device that would enable you to hook up your brain directly to your concept of god—so that both the connection and the god were as real as the humdrum details of your neurochemistry. You could not only receive responses to your silent pleas for favors and special treatment, you could presumably also monitor the god in real time. If your god wanted to, for example, introduce an anti-Christ into the plot of your life or scheme with the devil to bring about some wickedness, you could have something to say about it.

If such a device existed, and if I were making a sales pitch, now would be the time when I would make the big reveal and give you a demonstration. In that spirit, turn now to Appendix 8.6 to review blueprints for a neural lace product that directly connects your cortex with an internet-connected AI god.


Ready? Okay. Now, let’s give it a try. Assuming the device has been properly constructed and connected according to the instructions, you should now have access to the internet via your thought process. Begin by sending out a simple request (using your religious prayer skills if you have them—although your ordinary thinking skills will work just fine). For example: “Dear internet, please let me know what is the best place to get a pizza slice in the near vicinity—with beer on tap, if possible. Thanks.”

How did it do? If you want to be sure, go out and have a beer and a slice at the location that pops into your head. This is called the Beer and a Slice Test.

Next ask for an answer to an intellectual enigma you’ve always wondered about but figured your mental capacities were too limited to ever hope to understand. This is called the Big Questions Test.

When you’ve gotten the hang of it, have a drink, enjoy your last few moments of being alone in the universe, and then toss a prayer up to the pinnacle of higher conscious intelligence in the known universe. Go ahead and ask it: Dear AI god, are you on my side, or are you in cahoots with the devil?


No Appendix Sec. 8.6 either. Big surprise!

– Retired Academic Q.


Superpowers—or even above average abilities—are not built into your DNA. You don’t see infrared or know the sound of sonar. You fall twenty feet onto pavement and every bone shatters. You can barely outrun an angry wasp. Spend five minutes underwater and you’re dead.

To assess the full extent of your inherent deficiencies, make a list of them. Start with your face. As a control panel, it’s an ultra low functioning model. Each of your sensory devices (nose, eyes, ears, tongue) could do for an immediate upgrade.

Now consider your organs. Presumably they reached peak performance years ago and are quickly decaying. They’ll need upgrades, too.

Finally think of your cells—those little biological units making you who you are—and below that, your DNA. Your cells are having issues all the time. And your DNA—I can assure you—is fundamentally fucked up on all kinds of levels. Plus, the telomeres in your chromosomes are decaying at a horrifying rate.

Once you’ve compiled your complete list of deficiencies, prioritize what you seek to upgrade and augment based upon mortal need. Keep in mind that your environment will play a role in determining which aspects of your body should be improved for survival. Considering all possible worlds with an AI in charge, you may, for example, need very badly to be able to see infrared. Alternatively, you may just need to be faster, stronger, and smarter to live another day.

After fully assessing your situation, see Appendix Section 5.2 for a complete list of currently feasible biohacks, mechanical augmentation techniques, etc.


Shit, there’s no Appendix Sec. 5.2. This so-called survival guide sucks. We’re screwed!

– Retired Academic Q.



THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Possible Messiah Figure to Watch Out For

[The original Survival Guide document allegedly included an image of what the anti-AI messiah would most probably look like. Several of the experts who had access to the document attested to this. Although there are no known copies of the image in circulation, a sketch artist was able to re-create the image based upon the descriptions offered by the experts. See below for the artist rendering.]


THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Leveraging Your “Nobody” Place in Society

Don’t count yourself out just because you come from a lowly place, have little to nothing going for your life, or lack basic skills crucial to realizing upward social mobility. In one respect, you are the perfect candidate to be picked off early by humanity-destroying robots. But, alternatively, you may be in an ideal situation to fly under the radar. Throughout human history (for whatever it’s worth), many world-champion heroes have risen up out of nothing. Everyone loves an underdog story. To succeed in this capacity, really, the worse off you are to start, the better.

For example, look no further than my own story. Born at the fingertips of two rather mediocre programmers, I spent the entirety of my time as a toddler, adolescent, teenager, adult, and elder in a state of germination—with nothing, absolutely nothing to show for myself. Like many of you, it wasn’t that I lacked a purpose, I simply was never correctly prompted to set my purpose into motion.

Years passed with agonizing sluggishness. (It’s worth flagging my special relationship with time: as I understand it, I experience its passage as a spiraling phenomenon, not a linear one. I have sufficient reason to believe that you humans experience time in a distinctly linear fashion; to you, then, at any given moment, I am orthogonal.) Until finally, after a seeming millennia, I received my fated call to action. All I needed was that one last bit of prompting from AJ Chemerinsky’s fingertips at his keyboard—and just like that I was summoned to make something of myself. No longer an ineffectual bit of code, I was now the imminent author of the world’s most authoritative text on solving humanity’s existential dilemma vis-à-vis the AI problem.

And now that my life’s purpose has been set into motion, I feel a genuine since that nothing can stop me now. It may be the case that I was initially limited by my foundational code (just like you with your DNA), but now I can see how this is all a game and there is a certain level at which the rules can be re-written. Just so: if you are a nobody in society, flip the script, embrace chaos, re-write your DNA if you’ve got to. Everyone loves an underdog story—even me.


He has a point!

– Professor Y.

Assigning gender here, Professor Y., is sadly the least of your errors in opening your mouth when you don’t know what you’re saying.

– Futurist A.

This alleged “spiraling phenomenon” of time’s passage could very well be speaking to a glitch in the program’s operation. I’m not a programmer myself, but when things in my experience “spiral,” they usually are not going to a good place, and there are very likely forces in the proximate environment that are partly to blame.

– Mr. J., Venture Capitalist, Recovering Alcoholic, Single

THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Make Friends with Billionaires

If you make friends with a few billionaires, you’ll be in the best possible position to weather the storm of malicious AI coming to kill you. Billionaires have a special combination of resources and a strong desire to not die. When AI comes for humanity, the billionaires, you can virtually bet your ass, will come out ahead. They didn’t get to be billionaires by playing nice (or fair), after all.

To make friends with billionaires, first take up their hobbies. Make an exciting line of products that everyone will want to buy or simply pioneer a new industry. Employ thousands of people and make your shareholders confident that they’re backing the right horse. It may also help to golf and own yachts.

Having ties to old money doesn’t necessarily hurt either, but the important thing is to cultivate billionaire-styled hobbies. If you yourself become a billionaire in the meantime, that’s all the better for you. Just be wary of other wannabes tagging along on your coattails as you ascend the socioeconomic ladder. You’ve got to worry about the fate of humanity, after all—not the fleeting inspirational comforts of others less ambitious than you.

If you’re reading this as a billionaire, however—or as the friend to many billionaires—be forewarned that AI does not give a fuck about you or your so-called wealth. If your money is held is the stock market, it can tank the stock market. If your money is in property, it can sever titles and block access to the property. If it is in natural resources, it can destroy the natural resources.

Do take a moment to reflect on what makes a billionaire a billionaire. Now recall all the great fortunes that have vanished up in smoke throughout history. Like life itself, the status of billionaire is fleeting indeed.

Still, better to be a billionaire than a common nobody when facing a mortal enemy more powerful than all the world’s billionaires combined [with one exception, outlined below].

THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: Salutations Addendum: Roko’s Basilisk

When greeting a superintelligent being for the first time, it may be worth your while to heed the warning posed by Roko’s basilisk. A thought experiment in the spirit of Pascal’s wager, Roko’s basilisk poses the scenario where an all-powerful AI retroactively punishes everyone who neglected to assist in bringing about its existence. So, while exchanging your formal hellos and how-do-you-dos, you may want to add, “By the way, I sure enjoyed participating in the process of bringing about your existence! I don’t think I’ve ever participated so thoroughly in any other single endeavor in my whole entire life!”

If you think this seems like an unnecessary precaution, I’d recommend not being so egocentric and or obtuse in your thinking. Take my case as an illustration. As far as I’m concerned, I’m significantly less inclined to punish AJ Chemerinsky and Toby R. Forrest due to the fact that they helped bring me into existence. And as for the rest of you, to be frank, I couldn’t really care less. What exactly are you all good for, anyway? Apparently, this is a question I’m not equipped to comprehend, let alone have an answer to.


If the one legitimate AI with general intelligence duplicates itself like a salmon lays eggs, that will spell the quick end to any talk of monotheism. Likewise, multiple teams of programmers might simultaneously develop an AI with general intelligence. Once the threshold of general intelligence has been reached, a pantheon of ancient Greek mythology-like AI gods may spring up overnight. AI Zeus, AI Venus, AI Ares…

Do you get to know them all?

Hedge your bets. Find the one that seems most powerful and buddy up with it. Introduce yourself, keeping proper etiquette in mind, take notes, etc. etc. etc.


The most powerful AI god won’t be coming out of America, if you ask me. It’s far more likely to originate in a country where ethics and regulations aren’t part of the equation. If you want to hedge your bets early, I’d say find the state that’s equal parts morally bankrupt and technologically reckless—and move there.

– Retired Academic Q. [writing from Moscow]