Scenario Network Mapping Development Workshop

As part of my dissertation research I’ve been developing a workshopping technique for mapping the paths to AGI based on scenario network mapping. Scenario network mapping is a scenario planning technique that is intended to overcome challenges in complex strategic planning situations by incorporating large numbers of scenarios that each form a particular pathway of plausible possible futures. While suggested for mapping technology development, it had not previously been used for this task. Thus, I conducted a workshop to develop the method for the purposes of mapping the paths to AGI while at AI Safety Camp 3 in Spain last month.

The process is intended to be conducted through four half-day workshops held on different days, up to a week apart. For the purpose of this development workshop we simply conducted two two hour workshops a couple of days apart. Despite the severe shortening of the process, the workshop was still a success. While we did not have time to complete the mapping, we were able to demonstrate a proof of concept and learn many valuable lessons for regarding workshop design and facilitation that will be valuable in future versions of the workshop. A paper proposing the technique and outlining the workshop process has been accepted for presentation at the 12th annual AGI conference in August.

Scenario network mapping is a visual and tactile technique that relies on a number of office supply products to create a colorful map of scenarios, or, in this case, paths to AGI. The process involves colored ribbon, different sizes of blank paper, different sizes and colors of sticky notes, masking tape, colored thin-tipped markers, etc. It is intended to be conducted in a single room with a large amount of wall space that is also big enough for splitting into breakout groups. The demonstrative workshop only used five people instead of the suggested 15-20, but more participants will be used in the next iteration.

The development workshop was very successful in demonstrating the viability of the adapted scenario network mapping technique. Many valuable lessons were also learned that will be applied to future workshops. Four out of five of the participants found the experience valuable and insightful. I’m looking forward to continuing the development and getting closer to complete maps of the plausible paths to AGI!