The smoking is very offputting. Tobacco use has a hugely negative connotation these days (as I've found out in my nicotine research). Unless she's deliberately supposed to be invoking ideas like an embittered old smoke-stained hag and frustrating reader identification, you should definitely switch to tea or something.

From a throwaway line in the ending, I assume we're supposed to find her embittered and flawed with smoking as a prop. But it doesn't really work.

Overall, an interesting exploration of a Ponylarity and Fun Theory. It's pretty good but somehow ... (read more)

I am now terrified (or is it thrilled?) that the fic becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy...

2iceman8yYou are correct that this was my intention. In an earlier version, the final scene had her smoking, because if she valued smoking, Princess Celestia wouldn't have copied the negative health effects. The paragraph didn't really help the scene so I cut it. Since you're the second person to find the smoking a turn off, I'll consider cutting it. Can you suggest a nervous, compulsive tick? Tea doesn't strike me as a compulsion. This is probably an artifact of how it was written. Most of the chapters were disconnected scenes that I wrote, without much planning. Only early this year did I start taking the individual scenes and stitched them into a whole piece. (If I write another piece of medium to long form fiction, I'll make sure to not repeat this process; I'm not entirely happy with said process.)
2Manfred8yHuh, interesting, 'cause I didn't see it that way. Maybe regional? Anyhow, if she knew the singularity was going to happen within the next 2 years maybe it was even intentional.

Friendship is Optimal: A My Little Pony fanfic about an optimization process

by iceman 1 min read8th Sep 2012150 comments


[EDIT, Nov 14th: And it's posted. New discussion about release. Link to Friendship is Optimal.]

[EDIT, Nov 13th: I've submitted to FIMFiction, and will update with a link to its permanent home if it passes moderation. I have also removed the docs link and will make the document private once it goes live.]

Over the last year, I’ve spent a lot of my free time writing a semi-rationalist My Little Pony fanfic. Whenever I’ve mentioned this side project, I’ve received requests to alpha the story.

I present, as an open beta: Friendship is Optimal. Please do not spread that link outside of LessWrong; Google Docs is not its permanent home. I intend to put it up on and submit it to Equestria Daily after incorporating any feedback. The story is complete, and I believe I've caught the majority of typographical and grammatical problems. (Though if you find some, comments are open on the doc itself.) Given the subject matter, I’m asking for the LessWrong community’s help in spotting any major logical flaws or other storytelling problems.

Cover jacket text:

Hanna, the CEO of Hofvarpnir Studios, just won the contract to write the official My Little Pony MMO. She had better hurry; a US military contractor is developing weapons based on her artificial intelligence technology, which just may destroy the world. Hana has built an A.I. Princess Celestia and given her one basic drive: to satisfy values through friendship and ponies. What will Princess Celestia do when she’s let loose upon the world, following the drives Hanna has given her?

Special thanks to my roommate (who did extensive editing and was invaluable in noticing attempts by me to anthropomorphize an AI), and to Vaniver, who along with my roommate, convinced me to delete what was just a flat out bad chapter.