Intelligence Rising

Intelligence Rising is a Strategic Role-Playing game meant to effectively simulate and illustrate the possible paths by which artificial intelligence capabilities and risks might take in the world. Players assume the roles of leaders in governments and technology companies, and then try to emulate how they believe these actors will behave in the pursuit of AI development over the coming decades. The game was designed by a group of researchers from Cambridge and Oxford to allow decision-makers to stress-test their assumptions, and develop a stronger sense of the possible impacts and meaning of the gradual development of AI.


”AI is one of the most important things we’re working on … as humanity. It’s more profound than fire or electricity or any of the bigger things we have worked on. It has tremendous positive sides to it, but, you know it has real negative consequences, [too].” – Sundar Pichai, World Economic Forum 2020

On one of the world’s biggest stages, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, the world’s largest and most successful AI company, declared AI to be more profound than fire and electricity, two of the most transformative technologies in human history. The implications of this are difficult to truly understand, but it is clear that AI has the potential to dramatically or radically transform society in ways that may be difficult to anticipate.

War often brings unanticipated scenarios that can be difficult to anticipate or plan for. Since World War II military planners have been using games for the purpose of exploring plausible futures and for training for potential future conflicts that will likely never happen. However, these techniques, known widely as wargames, are frequently used by all modern militaries. Their success has been so significant that they’ve been adapted for a variety of applications including for strategic planning by policy makers and organizations. In such applications the techniques are known as serious games or simulation games, and they can be very useful for future scenarios involving high degrees of uncertainty where even marginal reduction of uncertainty is valuable.

Inspired by these techniques, Intelligence Rising was developed for exploring plausible futures involving the development of dramatically and radically transformative AI. After nearly three years, the game has five distinct versions for a variety of different audiences: an online role-play game, a tabletop role-play game, an educational board game, a free-form role-play for large groups, and a free-form role play for training AI researchers and high-level decision makers.

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We are currently testing several different versions of the game: an online role-play game, a tabletop role-play game, a tabletop board game, and a large group role-play game.