Who are you to "take it easy" on Samantha?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Date: Sun Oct 28 2001 - 04:50:09 MST

There are a very few people who are down on my list as "hit them as hard
as you like, you won't accidentally shatter their psyche". Being on that
list is a deep compliment, and I try very hard to get on others' versions
of that list.

Samantha Atkins is on the list. She can hold her own - against the entire
list, if necessary - because, like Anders Sandberg and Nick Bostrom... and
myself... and others... she's made a deliberate study of rationality.
Look to your own mental integrity, not to hers.

I think that many folk here are finding it impossible to distinguish
between thinking through the issues and taking personal offense at the
people thinking about them, an absurdity that reached its heights when
somebody publicly plonked no less than Lee Daniel Crocker - an act of such
breathtaking audacity that I was almost impressed. I am disturbed to find
some of the people I had most respected before this point are falling prey
to such an elementary mental trap. Nonetheless asking people to take it
easy on Samantha is no less audacious than plonking Lee Daniel Crocker.

I wish people would shut up about people and get back to the issues, not
because I'm worried about anyone's feelings getting hurt, but because it
was such an interesting discussion up until then.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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