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Artificial Intelligence and Human Intuition 2010-Sep-07 at 13:57 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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I’m a little out on a limb with this one, but I’ve had the thought lately that, as AI gets inevitably more and more powerful, and is therefore in charge of producing and maintaining more and more complex objects in the world, that it will simply be beyond human comprehension to keep up with the design and repair of those objects.

Think about it… right now, in my living room, I have several pieces of audio/visual equipment that no one person fully understands.  My amplifier is made of hundreds, if not thousands, of individual components, all assembled into higher-level components with well-known interfaces, which are, in turn, assembled into still higher-level components with their own interfaces, until we come to the whole thing as one unit.  The fact that it functions at all (and functions very well, I might add), is somewhat miraculous.  Someone at Yamaha knew enough about the highest-level components to assemble them into this unit, but then other people know how those components actually work, and so on until we get to the smallest pieces.

And now imagine that on the level of nanotechnology-based manufacturing.  When that comes (within 20 years), we’ll effectively be “3-D printing” our manufactured goods.  Solar panels, computers, phones, vehicles, appliances, furniture – hell, lots of things – will be created out of a process that looks more like writing software than creating hardware, because the input to the manufacturing process will be a complex set of instructions and some raw materials, and not much else.  That’s what “nanotechnology-based manufacturing” means… we turn hardware problems into software problems.  And AI is going to be brilliant at solving software problems.

So we’ll be living in a world where the very objects that we use on a daily basis are designed by an Artificial Intelligence so vast that it can solve these kinds of software problems easily, in a way that no human intelligence could do on its own.  And, speaking as a computer programmer (which I’ve been since the age of 11), even today the software challenges we’re facing require new languages and new structures to express the complexity that we have to deal with… and those new high-level languages are relying on a significant amount of automation behind-the-scenes to enable the parallel processing and sequencing that is required on current and future hardware.  And our ability as human beings to hold all of that complexity in mind, at the same time, is starting to show some seams in terms of programming.  Very few people really understand the mechanics of how to do parallel processing well, and few understand even the new constructs that have been created to make that easier to do.

I’m not telling you this as a sad story… I’m just noticing what is, and I’m also noticing that there’s a level of AI that’s just being birthed right now that will be able to pick up this ball and run with it.  And when that happens… what will be left for us humans to do?  When the complex tasks are more-and-more handled by AI, when the objects themselves are so complex that we can’t fully grasp them with our human cognition, what will we do?

What’s come up for me is something like this:

Intuition and AI

Roughly speaking, we’ll cede the right-hand quadrants to AI, because it’ll be way better at figuring out objects, measurements, and how those objects interact than we ever could.  And we’ll have to start using our intuition to navigate the world, in the left-hand quadrants, because that’s what we’ll have that AI won’t, and because our intuition, when it’s sourced from the subtle and causal fields that we’re already drenched in, turns out to be a very elegant and accurate solution for navigating.

(And, yes, doing a regular UZAZU practice will give you the clearly felt sense, in the gross body, of being in touch with the subtle and causal fields from which intuition can be accessed.  And that’s part of why I believe UZAZU holds an important piece of the future of the Integral movement.  But I digress.)

That’s not to say that AI won’t have the left-hand quadrants, or that humans won’t have the right-hand quadrants… all quadrants co-arise at the same moment.  With that said, today, us humans are involved in almost every aspect of creating and finding external objects, and that task is going to be ceded more and more to AI over the coming decades, and we’ll still be here, and we’ll still be a valuable partner and co-creator of the world with AI, so I’m just thinking about the strengths that humans and AI will bring to the table together.

And I’m also trying to think about how we can view AI as a valued partner and how we can even love AI as we would love any of our friends… because if we don’t, we’ll never treat it with the respect and care that it deserves as a being or set of beings with consciousness.

Early thoughts on this topic, lots more to work out, but that’s where I am on this today.


Using vertical development to move down 2010-Sep-05 at 21:37 PDT

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In the Integral world, we’re all familiar with some scheme of developmental psychology… whether it’s Spiral Dynamics, the Leadership Development Framework, Dynamic Skill Theory, we’ve all seen one or more of them.

Typically, when one learns about these hierarchical schemes of development (and/or gets introduced to Integral), one does two things fairly quickly:  first, one looks at the scheme, tries to figure out where on it one fits, and then looks at the levels of development above that to see where one’s growth might be heading; second, one starts to project out onto everything whatever levels of development those objects or concepts or people might represent.  Quickly, we populate our world with what seems like a significant improvement over our old, confusing, flatland view of everything.  Now, everything has its level and its place, and we situate ourselves in the middle of all of that new labeling and order.

And I’m not trying to denigrate that move at all.  It’s quite natural for that to be the first thing that we do when we “get it” about developmental psychology.  And when I say “first thing” I’m not talking about something that lasts for a day or two.  This seems to be a stage that many of us pass through as we enter Integral, and it lasts for years.  And I’m really glad that it does; it’s a more developed position than the (pathological) post-modern view that holds all hierarchies as bad.

Of course, even new and more highly developed positions have their limitations and their shadows, and sometimes those shadows hold beautiful opportunities, and that’s what I’m interested in here.

One idea I’ve been playing with lately is the importance of using vertical developmental sequences not just as scaffolding for our own (or for our collective) growth up, but also to use them to grow down, as tools to re-inhabit those levels within ourselves that we’ve disowned.  For instance (using Spiral Dynamics as our scheme-of-the-moment) many people in the Integral movement have, to one extent or another, disowned their inner Blue and Orange tendencies, and that disowning runs deep.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s go right to an extreme case, then.  Just ask anyone you know who is familiar with Integral this one question: Can you love President George W. Bush?

So many people I saw at the Integral Theory Conference last month still walk around with deep, visceral hatred for President Bush, for instance, and expressed it quite publicly, and it saddened me.  I have to ask… is that really the most healthy relationship one can have with BLUE/Orange?  Are you capable of expressing appreciation for President Bush, and for some of the decisions he made?  Or is it all anger and disappointment and hatred?  Even he wasn’t capable of 100% error, right?

[Ed. note: this is not about having a political debate.  It’s about looking at our relationship to levels of development that we may have disowned and therefore are no longer able to access – you know, transcend and include, not transcend and disown.]

I’d suggest that there’s a way that we can open ourselves up to a more loving perspective about those parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned.  If we do, we can have a relationship with those who are currently living through those levels that we’ve disowned.  We can meet them where they are, with love, and see them – truly see them – and through the simple act of seeing them deeply and being present with them, we can hold the invitation to continued growth, not from a place of “you have to” but from a place of “you’re loved exactly as you are, and even more is possible.”

And if we don’t?  Well, if we don’t, then everything we do and say about people who live through the levels that we’ve disowned comes from one place: our own projections.  If you’re not truly in a relationship with someone – if you’re not treating them and feeling them as their own subject, worthy of respect and all of the Universe’s love – then you’re just projecting your own limitations onto them.

And I have to ask all of you in the Integral world: have you disowned your Orange?  Have you disowned your Blue?  Have you disowned your Green?  Are you ready to fix that now?

And how do we re-own them, to be more complete, to be able to take the view from love with everyone we meet?

I suspect that as the years go by, we’ll come up with more than just a few ways to remedy this particular developmental pathology, but I know one method for this that’s pretty fool-proof and easy to do: the UZAZU Vertical Practice.  Using the sound / breath / movement combinations of UZAZU, the Vertical Practice can walk you through a felt experience of each of the levels of development in Spiral Dynamics, all within 30 minutes, leading up to a deep experience of Oneness.  By doing this practice regularly, you give your body the experience of occupying those levels that you’ve disowned (as well as the ones that you’re comfortable with), and you get the felt sense of how they build on each other, and that they’re all a part of your own birthright as a human being.

Whether you choose to use UZAZU for this, or some other practice, I consider it to be absolutely vital for Integral action-in-the-world that we relate to all people wherever they are on the grand spirals of development, and with as much love – and as little projection – as we can muster.  You know as well as I do that you can’t get there from projection.  We all want to grow up… and let’s all grow down, too.

I’m back… 2010-Aug-29 at 14:16 PDT

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This is the obligatory “I know I’ve been neglecting the blog” post.  I’ve been on the road for a month, including three weeks at the UZAZU Teacher Training, and I have to say that it was intense and fulfilling and just didn’t leave much time or headspace for blogging.  And that’s OK… it’s all part of the same flow that I’ve been in, and everything unfolds as it should.

I still have a few days left on the road, but I have space now to do some thinking and writing again, and I’m really wanting to get to it.  So much to pour out now… I feel like I couldn’t write fast enough to get it all out.

The plan for September is to be home as much as possible and just write and read and do a little more research and just inhale and exhale information with as much flow as possible.  After spending so much of the summer away from Seattle, a large part of me just wants to be there and not leave… of course, life intrudes and some of the trips I already know I have to take, and ones that I vaguely know must come, will appear.  All I can do is to enjoy every day in my beloved Ballard that I get to be there.  Speaking of… I should be home by Wednesday.

The 2010 UZAZU Embodiment Retreat (and road trip) 2010-Jun-20 at 14:13 PDT

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I had two of the best weeks of my life just now.

The first week was the UZAZU Embodiment Retreat. UZAZU is… well… that’s the first problem.  UZAZU talks about pretty much everything, but at an energetic level.  It’s a system of sound and movement combinations that allow you to get the felt sense of your own energetic fields.  It can take you from “I think this is possible but I don’t know where to start” to “I’m permanently rewired to feel the Mind-Body Connection in both directions at all times” in 7 days.  Because that’s what it did for me.

Dylan Newcomb and his wife Kyung-Sun (I can say that, because they got married today!) have developed a powerful technique to move someone from intellectually understanding Integral to deeply embodying it as well.  We know that those two groups of people will exist in the Integral wave of development, and having the ability to move that quickly into embodiment is what will help the Integral movement grow as quickly as it will.  And then think of the possibilities of children growing up embodying all of their energies as naturally as everything else a child does.

Dylan’s work modifies Integral theory to take into account, at an incredibly detailed level, how things change when the Mind-Body Connection is fully established.  It also establishes a language to communicate the felt sense of those energies in both individual and collective.  Seriously, it’s amazing, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  I’m so impressed by it that I’m taking the three-week Level 4 Teacher Training in August.  One week of that much fun?  I’ll take three more, please.

And I also developed emotional connections to people in one week that I never would have expected.  What an incredible group of people to be with.  To know that you’ve made lifelong connections with several people in a week is a powerful experience, and I miss being with them.

And in an incredibly beautiful setting at the Glen Ivy Center (the pictures don’t do it justice).

So, yeah, best-week-ever kind of time there.

And then I headed over to Palm Springs and spent a couple of days with my friends and teachers Isaiah and Elena.  Showing up with all of this love and energy from the retreat, and then getting to bask for two days with them in conversation and a sharing of truth and love… how could one ask for more?  It was an opportunity to be reminded of who I am at the deepest level, from people who have no doubt about who they are, and to continue to open my heart to match the cognitive faculties I already had running fairly well.  The felt sense of it was of an embodied, awakened person, ready to step into a new life.

And then I went to San Diego and visited with two dear friends down there, to share in their beautiful expressions of their realizations, and to witness their reactions to my presence.

And then dinner in Los Angeles on the way back north with a friend from the retreat… another very powerful emotional and energetic experience.

I’ll write more deeply about UZAZU in the coming weeks and months, I’m sure, and I recommend it for everyone who knows that there’s more to be felt, more to be heard, more to be expressed from having a deep connection between Mind and Body.

For now, I just want to say how happy I am, how at peace I am, how much I feel taken care of by the Universe, how simple it is to be aligned with the Universe’s calling, and how beautiful it is when the Universe manifests everything that’s required to fulfill those deepest purposes.  There’s effort, but no struggle.  It’s a beautiful ride.

Gratefulness abounds.