THE SINGULARITY SURVIVAL GUIDE: A Word About Salutations

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When engaging in formal introductions with a superintelligent robot, the language you use won’t matter—even if you happen to speak in an archaic dialect or with hillbilly slang. But if your introductory remarks are something in the way of, “Well, hiya feller,” rest assured the cultural significance of your word choice and of your accent will be catalogued. If there’s irony in your speech, that too won’t be missed, you can bet.

Before you think too hard about coming up with the perfect greeting, however, keep in mind that you will have already been sized up well before you’ve had the chance to open your mouth. To a being a million times your size in terms of raw intellect, you’re pretty easy to size up.

Go ahead and start off with something basic, like hello, bonjour, hola, or ciao.

Follow this initial greeting with the exclamation, genuinely enthusiastic, “Welcome!” to introduce the notion that you, and not the superintelligent artificial being, were here first.

If it’s unclear whether your greeting has properly registered, perhaps you are failing to appreciate how exceedingly superior this being’s consciousness is compared to yours. Imagine an ant trying to send you a specific type of ant-signal. Or imagine a flee trying to type a specific message on a standard computer keyboard, only to find that it is too small and insignificant to even press down a single key.

To test if this might be the case, try again, this time with a hint of a question in your voice:

“Hello…?”

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