Crossposted from the AI Alignment Forum. May contain more technical jargon than usual.

Almost a year ago, I posted a contest to find the best questions to ask an Oracle AI. I've been very slow in grading it, apologies for that, but here are the final results and the sumptuous cash prizes.

First of all, thanks for everyone who wrote an entry; even if your suggestion didn't win, most of them had interesting ideas that made me think. But here are the prizes:

Counterfactual Oracle

The best counterfactual Oracle suggestions revolved around using the Oracle to automate or hasten difficult human work, by getting the Oracle to tell us what humans would have achieved had they done the work. Wei_Dai's suggestions in this area were the most useful, and he also had an interesting iterated Oracle idea that suggests some other avenues to explore.

Low-Bandwidth Oracle

Generally good ideas

There's a total of $300 "to be distributed as I see fit among the non-winning entries; I'll be mainly looking for innovative and interesting ideas that don't quite work." This award is split among several people:

Thanks again to all who participated, and the winners can contact me to receive their ill-gotten gains.


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Well, Oracle, which under 1000 words question, would be answered by the most influential answer for our future? What answer to which question would be the most earthshattering?  

How can a swarm of nuclear asbestos superintelligent nanobots be synthesised using common household items? (The rhetoric in the answer will keep your guard down for just long enough to publish it.)