AYBAM WAS: Gender Neutral Pronouns

From: Durant Schoon (durant@ilm.com)
Date: Sat Mar 31 2001 - 18:27:50 MST


As for the "v" pronouns:

Personally, I like "ve/vim/ver/verself". I just do. From example, I
assumed that "ve" was used for Transhuman beings and SI's. I enjoyed
reading and using the new pronouns. I guess my immediate reaction
was that I like the distinction this creates, of being something
more than the usual human. That was my initial gut reaction and I
guess it just stuck.

I don't have a strong opinion about this, just a couple observations:


The degree to which individuals like to diverge from routine
        (ie. standard English)
        It's sort fun, in a game like way to use "verself" and also
        has more serious subtext (cf. Alicia's et al.'s posts).

A secret language has "us" vs. "them" tribal significance
        (can you tell I'm reading "The Origins of Virtue"),
        which, as people pointed out, has positive and negative
        results in a publically minded webpage like FAI.

Perhaps the real question is whether people find the distinction
large enough to warrant the effort. It seems there is a multiplicity
of opinion on that. Survey says: Standoff.

> From: "gabriel C" <drachyneyes@hotmail.com>
> How about we drop the public use of gender-neutrals, and give the AI a
> gender neutral name?
> E.G. "AYBAM" (all your base are mine)
> That's gender neutral, and an inside joke as well.

I'm not much into giving the AI a name. It'd be cooler if ve chose
ver own (IMO). But there's another way Singularitarians(?) might co-opt
the acronym AYBAM.

When I was in college, I overheard several people on my dormitory
floor debating something (probably of little consequence). When one
person made a statement that the other did not believe, the
disbeliever exclaimed "Oh look, a monkey!" and everyone laughed. I had
no idea what this meant. Later I asked the disbeliever for the origin
and meaning of the saying. He (or she, I can't remember which ;-) told
me that on Saturday Night Live, a common expression was currently in
overuse: "Yeah, and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt" which was
typically uttered right after saying something totally unbelievable.
This little phrase was shortened to "Oh look, (significant pause) a
monkey!" and was now used to challenge something another person was
saying. The new phrase became a humorous short hand for a (slightly)
more complicated statement, and was easily recognized by most people
on my hall.

So now, consider several people, perhaps Ahmish, perhaps not, who have
never encountered the idea of the Singularity and have no clue of its
imminent appearance. We can now introduce a phrase that describes
their eventual experience (NOTE: these might be mythical people, since
word of the Singularity might spread everywhere fast enough, but the
scenario might be interesting...perhaps it's one we need to avoid):

<Singularity approaches, people stare up at it and point>

"Look, up in the sky!"
"It's a bird!"
"It's a plane!"
"It's ..."
"Ay!" Bam!


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