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Did you ever get one of your clients to use the "Your honor, I'm very sorry, I'll never do it again" line?

This was not at all obvious from the inside. I can only imagine a lot of criminal defendants have a similar experience. Defense attorneys are frustrated that their clients don't understand that they're trying to help—but that "help" is all within the rules set by the justice system. From the perspective of a client who doesn't think he did anything particularly wrong (whether or not the law agrees), the defense attorney is part of the system.

I mean... you're sticking to generalities here, and implying that the perspective of the client who thinks he didn't do anything wrong is as valid as any other perspective.

But if we try to examine some specific common case, eg: "The owner said you robbed his store, the cameras showed you robbing his store, your fingerprints are on the register", then the client's fury at the attorney "working with the prosecutor" doesn't seem very productive?

The problem isn't that the client is disagreeing with the system about the moral legitimacy of robbing a store. The problem is that the client is looking for a secret trick so the people-who-make-decisions-about-store-robberies will think he didn't rob the store and that's not gonna happen.

With that in mind, saying the attorney is "part of the system" is... well, maybe it's factually true, but it implicitly blames the robber's predicament on the system and on his attorney in a way that just doesn't make sense. The robber would be just as screwed if he was represented by eg his super-wealthy uncle with a law degree who loves him dearly.

(I don't know about your psychiatric incarceration, so I'm not commenting on it. Your situation is probably pretty different to the above.)

“Well, when we first met, you told me that you never touched the gun,” I reminded him with an encouraging smile. “Obviously you wouldn’t lie to your own lawyer, and so what I can do is get a fingerprint expert to come to the jail, take your prints, then do a comparison on the gun itself. Since you never touched the gun, the prints won’t be a match! This whole case will get dismissed, and we can put all this behind you!”

For the record, I am now imagining you as Bob Odenkirk while you're delivering that line.

The point about task completion times feels especially insightful. I think I'll need to go back to it a few times to process it.

I think Duncan's post touches on something this post misses with its talk of "social API": apologies only work when they're a costly signal.

The people you deliver the apology to need to feel it cost you something to make that apology, either pride or effort or something valuable; or at least that you're offering to give up something costly to earn forgiveness.

The slightly less machiavellian version is to play Diplomacy with them.

(Or do a group project, or go to an escape game, or any other high-tension low-stakes scenario.)

I think "API calls" are the wrong way to word it.

It's more that an apology is a signal; to make it effective, you must communicate that it's a real signal reflecting your actual internal processes, and not a result of a surface-level "what words can I say to appear maximally virtuous" process.

So for instance, if you say a sentence equivalent to "I admit that I was wrong to do X and I'm sorry about it, but I think Y is unfair", then you're not communicating that you underwent the process of "I realized I was wrong, updated my beliefs based on it, and wondered if I was wrong about other things".

I'm not entirely sure what the simplest fix is

A simple fix would be "I admit I was wrong to do X, and I'm sorry about it. Let me think about Y for a moment." And then actually think about Y, because if you did one thing wrong, you probably did other things wrong too.

This seems to have generated lots of internal discussions, and that's cool on its own.

However, I also get the impression this article is intended as external communication, or at least a prototype of something that might become external communication; I'm pretty sure it would be terrible at that. It uses lots of jargon, overly precise language, references to other alignment articles, etc. I've tried to read it three times over the week and gave up after the third.

I think I'm missing something obvious, or I'm missing some information. Why is this clearly ridiculous?

Nuclear triad aside, there's the fact that the Arctic is more than 1000 miles away from the nearest US land (about 1700 miles away from Montana, 3000 miles away from Texas), that Siberia is already roughly as close.

And of course, the fact the Arctic is made of, well, ice, that melts more and more as the climate warms, and thus not the best place to build a missile base on.

Even without familiarity with nuclear politics, the distance part can be checked in less than 2 minutes on Google Map; if you have access to an internet connection and judges that penalize blatant falsehoods like "they can hit us from the Arctic", you absolutely wreck your adversary with some quick checking.

Of course, in a lot of debate formats you're not allowed the two minutes it would take to do a google map check.

Yeah, stumbling on this after the fact, I'm a bit surprised that among the 300+ comments barely anybody is explicitly pointing this out:

I think of myself as playing the role of a wise old mentor who has had lots of experience, telling stories to the young adventurers, trying to toughen them up, somewhat similar to how Prof Quirrell[8] toughens up the students in HPMOR through teaching them Defense Against the Dark Arts, to deal with real monsters in the world.

I mean... that's a huge, obvious red flag, right? People shouldn't claim Voldemort as a role model unless they're a massive edgelord. Quirrell/Voldemort in that story is "toughening up" the students to exploit them; he teaches them to be footsoldiers, not freedom fighters or critical thinkers (Harry is the one who does that) because he's grooming them to be the army of his future fascist government. This is not subtext, it's in the text.

HPMOR's Quirrell might be the EA's Rick Sanchez.

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