Re: Additional thought on Crocker's Laws

phil osborn (
Sat, 09 Oct 1999 22:49:43 PDT

>From: Kathryn Aegis <>
>Subject: Re: Additional thought on Crocker's Laws
>Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 21:22:46
>At 09:34 PM 9/28/99 -0400, you wrote:
> >I half-agree with Eliezer and Lee. It's definitely a good idea to be
>able to
> >look past other people's indelicacy in phrasing; we just disagree with
> >how much effort we should make when originating speech.
>Again, I ask, are we talking about simple words, or a form of action? This
>is my point of divergence with some of what has been written on this
>thread, and I hope that someone will address it. Emotions do not
>constitute the sole mechanism through which persons formulate a reaction to
>written or verbal communication, and to reduce it to that misses an
>opportunity to address an aspect of posthuman development.
>As we move into realms of uploading, AI and other transhuman futures,
>symbolic forms of communication will take on greater significance. If an
>AI or an uploaded entity can only act digitally, then every communication
>it utters also consitutes a form of action, and actions generally fall
>under some sort of self-governance mechanism. The decisions we make now as
>to how to communicate on the Internet could eventually relate to how we
>develop methods of AI interaction. The initial design of an AI or uploaded
>entity will include the current understanding of communications in a
>digital medium, of which the best example we have is the Internet.

I find it interesting that no one seems to have focused - except for M. Yudowsky, as I now recall - on the need for accurate information. If you are interested in the truth, you don't censor. Do you WANT people - humans or uploads - to conceal who they are? Is hypocrisy to be a virtue - as it is in most Eastern cultures, where treachery is an art form? What about emotional interaction? We perceive ourselves, in the most fundamental sense (see N. Branden's work on this) through the uncensored reactions of other people. Are we so weak and have such a minus level self-esteem that we have to force other people to react the way that we want?
I had an experience with some dogs once. These dogs roamed the neighborhood at night and I frequently saw them, but they never approached. On night I was sitting on the doorstep and thinking that I would like to interact with one of the dogs physically. So, how could I get them to come to me? Calling them or whistling was either ignored or caused them to move away. So, suddenly I remembered Branden's experience with his dog that led him to his breakthrough in the need and nature of emotional interaction. I thought, the dogs want the same thing I do, but they are much more on the perceptual level. So what is it that they are seeing or not seeing in me that they don't like?
Then I realized that I was suppressing my fear of dogs in trying to entice them - not that I'm terrified of dogs, by any means, but there is a fear component which is quite rational. My voice, smell, whatever, was telling them that I was trying to put something over on them. So I consciously told myself, focus on the fear. Feel the fear. Don't try to pretend anything. Now call them.
They came right up to me and were all over me in a matter of seconds. I later tested this on several occasions and, invariably, if I tried to put on some emotional pretence, the dogs would back off. On the other hand, I had a series of correspondences with Rosalie Nichols, briefly famous for her "open letter to Ayn Rand" in which she attacked Rand's positions on gays and anarchists. Rosalie later published and edited "Lesbian Voices." One issue featured her discussion of all the virtues of women. She listed this long string of standard Randian/Aristotelian virtues - productivity, rationality, etc. However, there were several major ones not on the list. All the ones not on her list were those having to do with honesty, integrity, ect. ...
Most women are taught by the media if not their mothers very early on that the way to succeed is by manipulating people, especially men re sex and marriage, but also in general. This has become a virtually insurmountable barrier to having good relationships - intellectual or emotional and often economic - with a high percentage of them, more so perhaps in the U.S. than anywhere else.
I would certainly fear to be part of an upload culture in which people had the power to cut me off just because I spoke unpopular truthes as I saw them. I see THAT and how to prevent it as a far more appropriate focus than trying to teach people to be PC so that they won't someday be erased by other irate uploads.

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