Intelligence in Fiction

The Machine Intelligence Research Institute has put out a call for intelligent stories illustrating concepts related to (artificial or natural) intelligence. Guidelines are quite specific; read below.

This call is intended to reward people who write thoughtful and compelling stories about artificial general intelligence, intelligence amplification, or the AI alignment problem. We’re looking to appreciate and publicize authors who help readers understand intelligence in the sense of general problem-solving ability, as opposed to thinking of intelligence as a parlor trick for memorizing digits of pi, and who help readers intuit that non-human minds can have all sorts of different non-human preferences while still possessing instrumental intelligence.

The winning stories are intended to show (rather than tell) these ideas to an intellectually curious audience. Conscious attempts to signal that the ideas are weird, wonky, exotic, or of merely academic interest are minuses. We’re looking for stories that just take these ideas as reality in the setting of the story and run with them. In all cases, the most important evaluation criterion will just be submissions’ quality as works of fiction; accurately conveying important ideas is no excuse for bad art!

To get a good sense of what we’re looking for, we recommend you read some or all of the following:




Submission Details

  • Purchasing First Publication Rights
  • Pay Rate: 8c/word, up to 5000 words
  • Multiple Submissions ok
  • Simultaneous Submissions ok
  • Submissions window: Open until July 15

Withdrawal policy:

After you submit a story, we prefer you don’t withdraw it. If you withdraw a story, we won’t consider any version of that story in the future. However, if you do need to withdraw a story (because, for example, you have sold exclusive rights elsewhere), please send an e-mail telling us that you need to withdraw ASAP.

Important Notes:

MIRI is neither a publishing house nor a science fiction magazine and cannot directly publish you. However, MIRI will help link a large number of readers to your story.

We frankly do not know whether being selected by MIRI will qualify as a Professional Sale for purposes of membership in the SFWA. We suspect, through readership numbers and payscale, that it will, but we have not spoken to the SFWA to clarify this.

If you have a work of hypertext fiction you think might be a good fit for this call, please query us to discuss how to submit it.

To submit a work, send your submissions as .DOC or .DOCX email attachments to intelligenceprize@gmail.com, with your cover letter in the email body, and a subject line of SUBMISSION: (Title).

How to Contact Us:

To contact us for any reason, write to intelligenceprize@gmail.com with the word QUERY: at the beginning of your subject line. Add a few words to the subject line to indicate what you’re querying about.