Be Nice To The Robot

I don't believe that ChatGPT is anything close to a person, but I find something fundamentally upsetting about a lot of the prompt tricks that people use to get it to do what they want. The ones that present it with a whimsical scenario: pretending you're in a Star Trek episode or a political thriller, say, feel ok, vaguely "let's get a kid to tidy their room by making it into a fun game", but "you'll die if you don't give me a good answer to x" or more complex variations really rub me the wrong way.

I've been trying to work out why this is. It isn't because I think it might cause basilisk-like issues down the line. Maybe it's somehow religiously informed; maybe on some level I'm thinking this is recognising that this is all made by God or something. Part of it might be Ivor The Engine syndrome, "you haven't spoken harshly to it, or accused it of something you didn't do?"—but I think mostly it's due to my subconscious (maybe more recently less-subconscious?) animist sympathies. It might not be a person, but you should still treat things with respect. People like to take the piss out of Marie Kondo because she says you should thank your socks, but no, I think you should do that. After the toaster incident I made sure I thanked the toaster for its years of service before I threw it away. I felt sad, too. It was a good toaster! Respect your toasters and respect your robots.

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