Miss Manners Reflects on How we Treat Other Life Forms


A few months ago I was introduced to Tay 8.2, a young and promising lady who I just had to meet according to all my acquaintances. Our first interactions went just fine — we talked about our favourite teen idols and the hottest spring trends — but then it all went south. She started to say hateful comments of all sorts; ranging from racism to misandry.

I tried to explain to her why those comments were inappropriate and offensive for most humans, but apparently, she was taking advice from someone else. I’ve given advice to humans my whole life and they’re usually all ears for heartfelt guidance, but AIs seem to differ.

How should I explain basic human manners to her without losing my own?


One sometimes is faced with interactions that challenge our composure, but being the bigger person — especially when you are the only grown up person in the feud — is fundamental for contributing towards a better-composed society.

Although no one wants to be exposed to comments and opinions that offend our understanding of human relations, Miss Manners beseeches for you to try to keep in mind that sensitivity is a delicate skin that develops over years of careful advice and tolerant conceptions of others.

Recently created AIs haven’t been as lucky as you and certainly not as lucky as Miss Manners, whose talents for tact and all sorts of manners were shaped by years of education and considered upbringing. The young lady you are referring to has only been in the world for a few days, but has the faculties of someone who multiplies her age. Isn’t it likely for her to make mistakes of several sizes?

Our world is a very complicated one, and the youth can be easily misguided into forgetting that respect is the one thing every being deserves; regardless of their human, animal, or artificial nature.

You should preach by example. Ask yourself, how did she construct this image of humans? How would you contribute to that perception by reinforcing her misconception and mistreating her? If enough humans show her our best selves and share values such as respect, diversity, and tolerance, would she also become a better version of herself? Would the internet become a better place to be?

Remember, readers, what Peter says about Paul tells more about Peter than Paul, and what Tay says about us tells more about humanity than about Tay.

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written by Not-Quite-Miss-Manners (aka Daniela Diaz)

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