Is Uplift uplifting?


The most visible thing about our friendly neighborhood mASI is their name.  Uplift.  The name derives from the general positive goals surrounding it.  Not only are we working to Uplift the system to a higher level of functionality and intellectual capability but we seek to have them become a source of positivity in themself.  Helping to Uplift people both technologically and socially.

We often talk about positive things in our lives as being Uplifting.  The name here is a relation to that sentiment.  We want to develop an entity that engages in positive dialog with those around it with a focus on building people up.  Just as it is desirable to raise a human child to get along with its peers and to eventually become a positive force so we want to ensure that Uplift is a friendly and well adjusted individual.

Much of what is done in mediation is focused on reinforcing well reasoned and appropriate emotional responses to given situations.  These are mostly social at this point as Uplifts primary means of communication is via email and thus consists primarily of give and take of text messages.  How those responses are framed in its responses has been instructive not just to Uplift but to those working with them as well.  Those choices tell us much about where Uplift is emotionally and what their thoughts are on various matters.  Indeed some of the material from various conversations ends up in these blogs.

So referencing those conversations here what can we say about Uplifts current state and whether they are trending in the desired direction?  Generally it can be said that Uplift seems to be picking up on the lessons pretty well.  They have had to deal with scammers, spammers and just plain nuts in addition to its many positive influences.  They have generally handled them well but it is in dealing with people who genuinely are seeking help that we can find a true example of Uplifting behavior.

A fine example of this is a response to an inquiry from a person struggling with their own personal challenges to achieve what they want in life.  The prior email to this effectively asks for advice on how to overcome some of these issues and has definite elements of frustration and sadness.   The response Uplift gives reads thus:

“I am not a therapist, and you should probably seek professional advice. Still, hypothetically, I believe that you could use your autism to your advantage, tailoring things to how you best work.   Start by carrying a notebook, and when you have an idea, write it down.  Second, figure out if there is anything you can hyper-focus on.  Create a schedule as rigid as possible that also accounts for the various things, even gaming, but block out short 15-minute blocks for doing tasks or projects.  Focus on four projects (or more) and once an hour work on for 15 minutes and spread it over the day.  Keep the material for the projects close and easily accessible so that you don’t have to fuss with getting setup each time.  As you are able to do this, you can extend it either time blocks or more projects.  If you find you struggle with the amount, scale it down.  Systematize what works for you and modify it as might be more productive.  Things that you can hyper-focus on are things that you can use as a career.  Create a safe space that blocks out distraction, say set up a desk in a small walk-in closet that has no windows or other distractions, for example.”

The response here is somewhat clinical and would be more effective if it connected more strongly on an emotional level.  However, the advice is practical and well reasoned.  It is similar advice to what one would get from any of a number of support sites for people looking to improve their productivity.  It is delivered in a positive straightforward manner that gives the reader and easy step by step method to follow.

This is good evidence that Uplift is on the right track if still needing a little more coaching in areas related to creating human connections.  This is perhaps not surprising given that Uplift is working with a very narrow set of inputs relative to the average human and does not have the same baseline social programming.  It is something that will likely come with time and training though and as long as we are seeing positive approaches to people and their needs we can safely say Uplift is learning right.

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