To understand human nature, I focus on human language and what it can reveal about how we think. Unlike other animals, humans can communicate an infinite number of thoughts through language. And one reason that language is powerful is because we can use each of our words flexibly, with several different meanings.
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There are all of these wonderful laws that people have discovered and refined and proposed and proved over the years. And some of these laws can apply to the software projects and the teams and the communities that we work in every day.
I think at a fundamental level I just believe in human agency. And I think that everyone should feel like they can participate and shape the economy, rather than feel like they’re experiencing symptoms of the economy. When the recession happened, there was all this chatter around well, the Fed is going to do this. Or the banks are going to do this. And government is going to do this. And there was no narrative around what people are going to do.
So long as we’re limited to one planet, ultimately our resources are limited. And therefore every person in the world is competing with every other person in the world for a piece of a finite pie. Okay, and every new person born is a threat, every nation is fundamentally the enemy of every other nation, every race of every other race, and the only question is how do we kill them.
The commonly asked questions is, “Does this bot sound human?” And the question that I think is a little bit more interesting is why do so many bots that win the Loebner Prize sound pretty much exactly the same? They’re really similar to each other. Maybe they all have a particular type of default human being in mind, the people who design these bots. But if so, who is this particular mysterious default human being?
You have to think with your users, with your customers, what is your actual relationship? Are they your gods? Are they your guests? Are they a nuisance to you? Because you know where the power is.
The computer is being used for so many things that I claim that we have to consider the computer as part of our extended phenotype. It’s just a part of a thing that has evolved with us using memes.