Machine superintelligence could plausibly be developed in the coming decades or century. The prospect of this transformative development presents a host of political challenges and opportunities. This paper seeks to initiate discussion of these by identifying a set of distinctive features of the transition to a machine intelligence era. From these distinctive features, we derive a correlative set of policy desiderata—considerations that should be given extra weight in long-term AI policy compared to other policy contexts. We argue that these desiderata are relevant for a wide range of actors (including states, AI technology firms, investors, and NGOs) with an interest in AI policy. However, developing concrete policy options that satisfy these desiderata will require additional work.