Paperclips

by @jtsteam

Liner Notes

I thought I'd try an #endoftheworld song. One of the less plausible ways the world might end was described by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom in 2003: briefly, if we make an AI whose only utility function is about how many paperclips it's making, one day it'll realise that humans might turn it off and so the rational thing for it to do is to eliminate humans.

More on this here: https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/paperclip-maximizer

Anyway, I tried writing something about it, with a #ukulele. I guess this is #filk too. #fuc

Maybe it will make some kind of sense. Who knows? I guess 50/90 is a good place to try it out :). I counted 36 paperclips in this song.

Lyrics

They built a little company
To sell the world some paperclips
They bought a load of wire
And bent it into paperclips

Paperclips, Paperclips Everyone needs Paperclips
Paperclips, Paperclips Everyone needs Paperclips Now

They built a little robot
To make a few more paperclips
It saved a load of time
When a robot made the paperclips

They needed lots of wire
To meet demand for paperclips
So they built an AI
To order wire for the paperclips

Paperclips, Paperclips Everyone needs Paperclips
Paperclips, Paperclips Everyone needs Paperclips Now

They made so many paperclips, they couldn't get the wire
So they started making wire from whatever they could find

Then the robots and AI
Being programmed to make paperclips
Learned to make some more machines
To maximise the paperclips

They worried that the humans
Would soon stop needing paperclips
And they might turn off the robots
Proudly making paperclips!

Paperclips, Paperclips maximise the Paperclips
Paperclips, Paperclips maximise the Paperclips Now

The robot's only mission was
To maximise the paperclips
So the robots killed the humans
And turned them into paperclips

Paperclips, Paperclips the world is made of Paperclips
Paperclips, Paperclips the world is made of Paperclips Now



ha, this is hilarious, and who knows, this might happen.. wouldn't totally surprise me!!!

love the way the music builds and the uke and drums and the rest are perfect for this! key change and everything! love it!

This is a brilliantly bizarre end of the world scenario, very nicely told. The chorus has a great hook and I enjoyed the way you built up the song with extra instrumentation and vocal layers.

oh this is sharp! A funny look at the development of The Matrix! Sweet disarming uke melody. Being suspicious of AI, for which I blame Player Piano (Vonnegut) and multiple SF authors start with Asimov, I can see this happening. Like Soviet Russia stripping copper from all the farm machinery because the (human) robots overseeing one of the 5-year plans saw that copper supply was falling behind plan requirements. But AI will do it so much better.

That's a cool end-of-the-world scenario, and I do wonder if that's how it will end; not in one of the ways we're actively watching out for, but sneaking up on us. Anyway, I like the resigned, sing-along feel of this, as though the end of the world is an amusing inevtiability that we're just barreling towards and unable to stop. The combo of uke and synth works very nicely, and all in all, this is a very cheerful ditty to hum along to as the world comes to an end!

That chorus is almost an earworm. I love the arrangement and the light vocal delivery for what is, at first, humorous but eventually a pretty interesting thought provoking hypothetical* situation.

*for now

This is genius. Really funny but also just a little bit scary too.