Be wildebeest   Leave a comment

Genocidal artificial intelligence: less scary than going to the pub.

Thursday afternoon I got an email saying thank you for the update, but that wasn’t what was meant at all. I think I made quite a funny noise when I read that. The rephrased request does make more sense, though.

On Thursday evening, though… Ah, you’ve guessed, haven’t you? No, not the gym, the other one. That’s right.

It was go to CCL night. Or it was try to persuade myself to go to CCL night. I was not enthusiastic about standing around by myself feeling a bit of a tit (figuratively). Actually, it was getting my knickers in a bit of a twist. I asked Twitter for good reasons, clearly because I was trying to persuade myself otherwise. If anything, doing so only further knotted my undies.

However, a friend did suggest something amusing that I’ll never do. Get a T-Shirt, and write on it:
“I’M NOT just WEIRD, I’M also SHY”

Why not?

Because shyness could be perceived as a weakness. And displaying any form of weakness or vulnerability seems… Foolish.

One of my models of human behaviour is a cannibalistic lion/wildebeest analogy. The lions lurk, waiting, for any sign of weakness. And when they spot it, they pounce, and the wildebeest is dinner.

The only failing of that analogy is that a real wildebeest won’t give one of his herdmates a swift kick to the kneecaps to make sure he’s not the one caught limping. And that there’s more difference between a lion and a wildebeest than whether they think they can get away with it.

Monkeys, after all, can get a social-status boost in their group by attacking other monkeys. Especially monkeys not in their group.

That means being the single person who’s alone makes you the only wildebeest in a room full of lions. On the bright side you don’t have to worry about your kneecaps, but demonstrating that you’re even more vulnerable than is immediately obvious? I’ll pass, thanks. It’s scary enough already, and being moderately large and intimidating is all I’ve got going for me.

As you can imagine, it takes a bit of encouragement to overcome that kind of fear. You want to feel that you’re likely to get something out of it that you wouldn’t get by avoiding the horrible situation entirely. Not being in a terribly chirpy mood meant that hearing some decent songs didn’t cut it, but from past performance that’s all I could expect.

And so I stayed at home, had a nice cup of tea and a calm down, and played AI War.

If only real-life’s problems were as straightforward as marauding robotic starships hell-bent on the extermination of humanity.


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