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Someasy @lemmy.world
Posts 12
Comments 55

My school and high school never had us read any non-fiction books (only fiction)? Do you agree this is a problem and if so why or why not?

Plus it would be cool if you could recommend some particular essential non-fiction books that should be taught in schools, or that people should read if they didn't read them in school.

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Do we need to create increasingly more children for a stable economy?

So in the whole anti-natalism/pro-natalism conversation (which I'm mostly agnostic/undecided on, currently), my friend who is a pro-natalist, argued that the success/stability of our world economy is dependent on procreating more children each year than the previous year, so that we not only replace the numbers of the people who existed from the previous generation (and some, to account for the statistical likelihood that many won't have children or will be sterile or die young etc), but also ensure that the population keeps growing in order to produce more and more human labor to "pay back the debts" of previous generations, because all money is borrowed from somewhere else... this is all very murky to me and I wish someone could explain it better.

She is also of the view that this will inevitably lead to population collapse/societal/civilisation collapse because we live on a finite Earth with finite resources that can't keep sustaining more humans & human consumption (and are nearing critical environmental crises), but that there isn't any other option than to keep producing more children because a declining population wouldn't be able to support itself economically either. Basically the idea seems to be that economically & societally we're on a collision course for self-destruction but the only thing we can do is keep going and making increasingly more of ourselves to keep it running (however that as individuals, we should be plant-based & minimalist to reduce our impact to the environment, non-human animals and humans for as long as possible). And she is worried about the fact that fertility rates are falling & slated to reach a population peak followed by a decline in the relatively near future.

As I said I'm not sure how I feel about this view but at first glance I think that the effect of having fewer children in providing relief upon the environment and helping safeguard our future is more important than preserving the economy because destroying the actual planet and life itself seems worse than economic downturns/collapses, but I really don't know enough about economics to say for certain.

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Should AI be referred to as "it" or "they"?
  • Yes, I meant singular they. "They" isn't typically used for objects in the singular ("it" usually is used there). Nothing I'm saying has to do with plural pronouns, I should've made that clear. It's about he/she/they vs it (designating an entity as a personality vs an object, you might say).

    And I think any entity with a personality could merit potentially referring to them as he/she/they, rather than "it". If they're conscious then I think it's definitely warranted, which is why I think "he/she/they" shouldn't be restricted to humans only, and should apply to all animals (or sentient animals which are at least the majority), as well as any other hypothetical sentient beings such as sentient AIs or sentient aliens.

    Non-sentient AIs are what I'm really asking about though, but ones so complex that they demonstrate something resembling a personality. That's where it gets tricky about whether to designate them as "he/she/they" or as "it", personally. Presuming they don't specify a "faux gender" (like calling Amazon's Alexa a "she" without really acknowledging Alexa as a female), and if they were gender neutral/gender unspecified, the decision would probably be between calling them either (singular) "they", or "it".

    In my opinion, given the lack of sentience, I wouldn't see a problem with calling non-sentient AIs "it", but if they were hypothetically complex enough to faithfully represent a human for example, I would then struggle to call them "it" and might have to go with "they".

  • Word???
  • Those are great lmao.

    And wow yes, I hate it when someone says "I'm going to pee/piss" or "I need to take a shit". Like just say you're going to the bathroom, or, you know, voiding (jk) like a normal person.

  • Should AI be referred to as "it" or "they"?
  • Thank you for your great response and your knowledge and insight.

    "The implication is that an AI is an “it” because it’s not a person."

    To me, the reason to designate something as a "they" (singular, gender neutral, as in "they are an x") rather than an "it", is whether the term is in reference to a conscious/sentient being that could be seen as having a personality, or to an unconscious entity or object. Like you pointed out, people often refer to animals such as dogs and cats as "they" rather than "it", especially when a person doesn't know their sex. For example "I was chased around by this dog, and they were licking me". While other people might still use "it", I personally think "they" is more of a charitable acknowledgement of their personality (rather than "its personality"), and might potentially lead to treating them with more consideration than as designated similarly to objects.

    But with AI that can replicate a personality without actually having consciousness, this seems to get very murky in my opinion. Technically using the same logic you might call an AI an "it" rather than a "they", since they aren't sentient/conscious (as far as we can determine currently at least), but when they convincingly present themselves as having a personality, it seems to warrant a consideration on whether to still use "it" or to perhaps use "they" instead. Not that there would necessarily be a reason to do so, but it seems like odd territory, especially when considering the hypothetical of the philosophical zombie, or possibly a highly advanced (but non-sentient) AI that was so faithfully replicating the behaviour of a human being that they could be interpreted the same way as a human, despite not having any consciousness whatsoever. Do we still call that like-a-human-but-not-a-human-and-not-conscious being an "it", or would that feel inaccurate and warrant calling them a "they" due to their clear personality that appears identical to conscious personalities that we acknowledge?

    "And just to throw another theoretical biology stick in the spokes, is an ant colony an “it” or a “they,” and why?"

    I think that an ant colony could be called an it, just like a group of humans or a group of any animals could be called an "it". While distinctly to this, I think an individual ant, given their consciousness/sentience, can be referred to as a "they", similar to other conscious/sentient animals, including humans, or any hypothetical conscious/sentient beings for that matter. If we found an alien being on another planet that was conscious/sentient, it still makes sense to me to refer to them as a "they/them", unless of course their gender was known in which case they could be a he/she, or whatever they identify as if they express that (purely hypothetically).

  • Should AI be referred to as "it" or "they"?
  • Thanks, I'm not sure why it's downvoted either. It surprised me, usually questions like this trigger interest.

    I think that by most estimations, we can assume that AI are not actually sentient currently and don't have the ability for sentience as there is no mechanism that would allow for them to experience consciousness subjectively, unlike animals including humans which we can scientifically state have not only behaviours consistent with consciousness and feeling but also biological mechanisms that we know to be what make us capable of a subjective experience. AI is highly intelligent, but so are many computers and machines, with AI this is just taken to another level where it's able to replicate the simulation of a personality. I agree that the answers given by AI itself which is programmed wouldn't be the best way to determine this, but rather objective computer science and technology of humans independent of an AI system.

    So again I think it's pretty much factual that AIs aren't capable of sentience currently, and it's a debatable topic whether more upgraded or evolved forms of AI could be physically capable of perceiving experience/sentience even in the future as a hypothetical, though I definitely wouldn't rule that out.

    That said, I don't think the fact they aren't sentient can prevent us from addressing them as if they were, given they exhibit a very convincing presentation of a sentient personality even if that isn't the case.

    To me, it would feel odd for example to address them as "it" if they were even more convincingly like a human but simply weren't conscious, hypothetically. This would then be approaching something similar to the "philosophical zombie" thought experiment where a being is physically identical to a normal person but does not have conscious experience. So, a being that behaves exactly like a human but technically doesn't experience anything/isn't sentient. That would definitely feel strange for me to still call them an "it", or a something, rather than a "they" or a someone.

    However, I think at the current level of faithfulness, of even the most advanced AI, to a human being, they aren't convincing enough and still too machine-like for me to definitively say that I would be uncomfortable calling them "it", unlike the philosophical zombie where I would be uncomfortable calling them "it".

  • Should AI be referred to as "it" or "they"?
  • It refers to objects, they refers to sentience or the fact of "someone" being a conscious individual rather than just a "something".

    But in this case, they would be acknowledging on some level, even superficially, AI's personality and agency to a degree.

  • Should AI be referred to as "it" or "they"?

    Of course AI isn't sentient/conscious, but it exhibits traits of high intelligence, even personality, and behaviours consistent with sentience, even if it's merely simulated.

    The answer ChatGPT gave me:

    > Referring to AI as "it" is the most common practice since AI, as a technological entity, doesn't possess inherent human-like qualities. However, as AI advances and becomes more integrated into daily life, some individuals prefer using "they" to acknowledge the complexity and multifaceted nature of AI systems. This choice can reflect a perspective that sees AI as more than just a tool or machine, attributing a certain level of agency or personality to these systems. Both "it" and "they" can be used, but the context and individual preferences often guide the choice.

    And in response to "Is AI alive in a way?"

    > AI lacks the fundamental attributes of living organisms, such as biological processes and the ability to reproduce. However, AI can exhibit behaviors that simulate aspects of intelligence, learning, and adaptation. While it's not alive in a biological sense, some people metaphorically attribute a form of "life" to AI due to its dynamic nature, ability to evolve, and perform complex tasks autonomously. This association with "life" is more symbolic or metaphorical rather than literal.

    51

    Word???

    I want a word to refer to words and names collectively, and a word to refer to peeing and pooping collectively (not "relieving yourself" since that is disgusting)

    46
    Television @lemmy.world Someasy @lemmy.world

    Fargo Season 5 question

    Why did Dot (Juno Temple, the woman who gets kidnapped) tell Witt Farr (Lamorne Morris, police officer who helps her) that this isn't her first getaway, considering that she's trying to hide her criminal past/previous identity?

    I understand it obviously served as a reveal to the audience confirming she did have some kind of prior criminal involvement, but why would she say it to that police officer, especially when she then subsequently ran away and pretended the whole thing never happened?

    4

    I feel like I need a separate body towel (big towel), and 3 other small towels for hair, face, and hands. 4 towels in total. Is that normal?

    I just don't want to mix them because I feel like it would make me less clean.

    Relatedly, what's the best way I can follow the Patrick Bateman skincare routine as a simplified version that's actually practical to follow and contains the most important steps?

    69

    What show is as entertainingly bad as Fear The Walking Dead?

    This show just came to an end and it's got to be one of the worst shows I've ever seen, but somehow always entertaining. Preferable if the show has a large amount of viewers to trash it and laugh at it.

    47

    Is the right to abortion a "negative right" or a "positive right"?

    'Where negative rights are "negative" in the sense that they claim for each individual a zone of non-interference from others, positive rights are "positive" in the sense that they claim for each individual the positive assistance of others in fulfilling basic constituents of well-being like health.'

    'Negative rights are considered more essential than positive ones in protecting an individual's autonomy.'

    So when one individual's positive right to do something is at odds with another's negative right to protect them from something, as much as it would be ideal for both parties to have exactly what they want without harming or inconveniencing/upsetting the other, since that's often not possible, the negative right to 'protect' an individual from something seems to trump the positive right for an individual to 'do' something in hierarchy of moral importance and most ethicists seem to agree.

    For example, I think people's 'positive right' to choose animal-based product or service options when there are equally suitable plant-based options that achieve all the same purposes, isn't as important as sentient animals' negative right to not be unnecessarily exploited and killed, and to be protected from those undesirable experiences, states or conditions. Hence the position of veganism is very clear and obvious for me, and resolves an "easy" ethical issue with a clear solution (essential negative (protective) right prevails over others' ultimately unnecessary positive ("doing") right).

    When it comes to abortion however, I do believe that it's a tricky situation ethically. I'm pro-choice, but I say that with difficulty, because considering both sides it's not an easy position and I see it as much more ethically complex than the issue of unnecessary animal exploitation. That's because I think you can make the argument that either forcing a person to undergo pregnancy, or terminating the life of an (admittedly unconscious, undeveloped) fetus, are in both cases breaching a sentient (or would-be sentient) individual's negative (protective) right. It would seem to be a clear ethical dilemma, where neither outcome is desirable, in almost comparably important ways. However, ultimately I had to decide that protecting a woman/person from an enforced pregnancy (and the physical and life-changing, even life destroying (or killing) effects, results and experiences that can have), a person being a fully formed, conscious and sentient individual, is more tangibly important than protecting an undeveloped, unconscious "mass of cells" from being prevented from developing into a human being.

    My thoughts on the matter aside... It seems like in one way the right to abortion is a positive right by claiming assistance from others to "do" something being terminate a pregnancy, while in another way it's a negative right by "protecting" the person via preventing undesirable states and experiences that would be imposed on them by others 'interfering' and forcing them to undergo pregnancy, by denying them an abortion.

    I'm honestly just wondering what kind right this would be considered. Positive right or negative right? Or both? Thanks :)

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