From: Alicia Madsen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 01:33:40 MST
As a student and a newcomer to the Singularity and the exploration of sl4
issues in general, I find using gender-nuetral pronouns quite helpful. When I
disseminate material, I write my interpretation of the material down, so I can
read it later, and share with those around me my interpretation.
When I first read through CatAI, it was the first of anything like close to
sl4 that I had ever read. It was comforting to me to know that people had
thought out in such detail that even the pronouns had changed, and I was
impressed by the professional feel the gender-nuetral pronouns gave me.
When my friends read my disseminations of ideas sl4-ish, some have reacted
like me, and some, being German thought the use was great fun. It opened up
the conversation by giving them something non-threatening to ask about, and
even make their own opinion on.
When some of my friends think, gee this girl is a weirdo, her ideas are way
out there, it is not the use of ve and ver that causes them to say this. I
have had only one of my fellow students totally not be able to accept the
gender nuetral pronouns, and he admitted it hindered him in accepting my
interpretation of things sl4-ish, but that he would probably not have accepted
anything sl4-ish anyway.
The use of gender-nuetral pronouns provides a useful distancing of concepts
that would otherwise seem way too threatening to accept for some people. This
is helpful, because in these people can in their scorn mull over sl4-ish
issues without losing face. It is my hope that the use of gender-nuetral
pronouns continues and spreads, because it reflects the differences between
AIs and humans.
Refering to AIs as a him or a her is prejudiced. When dealing with a foreign
culture, you do not treat them as your own culture, you must take into account
thier differences and celebrate them. Being Alaska Native, I have seen this
first hand, where people in attempt to create equality between the races,
treat Alaska Natives as white people. This is a prejudiced reaction, as Alaska
Natives are not white. As if white people were the only measuring stick.
Therefore treating AIs like humans is prejudiced against the AIs.
Using gender-nuetral pronouns furthur brings to mind the differences between
AIs and humans, and therefore helps to avoid applying anthropomorphic ideas to
them. Perhaps someone could sing a song of our differences and we could take
pride in our effort to accept one another. We do this in INupiaq Eskimo
culture and it helps. In the exploration of differences, we see how alike we
really are to each other. I am very interested in seeing this concept brought
up, as it is one step of many to bringing AIs and humans not furthur apart,
but closer together in our understanding.
CLOSER, not furthur. Onward, deeper into Egypt.
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