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Apr 8, 2023·edited Apr 9, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

Wanted you to know that I'd get back to you next semester after I've finished your course, cleverly disguised as an article. I mean, gheez! I read the article 3 hours ago and have been down the rabbit hole of many of these links, coming back to your article, exploring more of the references. Especially the article about "AI knows you better than you do" - this is profoundly sobering shit. And I'm not really kidding about this being the basis of a whole course. Because it serves as a launching pad for a point made in the Wired article, which is that knowing yourself is more important now than ever, because in the past, you never had competition from any other influence trying to "know yourself" better than you do, but that's no longer the case. And I get your point that "knowing yourself" ain't easy and hasn't worked yet, but I feel more optimistic about that strategy than anything else. I'm looking forward to your take on storytelling as our best bet. Thanks for your work on this.

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May 3, 2023·edited May 3, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

"The essence of abstraction is preserving information that is relevant in a given context, and forgetting information that is irrelevant in that context." --From my Python 101 textbook.

Abstraction allows us to store more information in our brains (and in our collective consciousness), because that info can be compressed- like zipping files. For example, when you say "Hebrews" I know what you mean- the story of the Israelites as primarily told in the Bible, and all the details of their journey and ideology. There's no need to repeat that entire phrase, you can just use the keyword. And if I forget,the specifics, I can reference the Bible, or ask a pastor, or read Spurgeon's commentaries.

If experienced reality (felt, embodied) is the first brain,

And spoken/written language is the second brain (q.v. Tiago Forte),

Then collective consciousness / dialectic (such as this discussion, or wikipedia) is third brain,

Then AI is either fourth brain, or a tool for more readily accessing brains 2-3,

But so how do we make sense of all that information? Large language models can only regurgitate or at best re-synthesize information that's already out there, and they're not great at constructing meaning.

So then, in line with your essay, I think stories are what we need to order and prioritize that information, to construct a logical (or at least useful) pattern of information, to draw a map to help us navigate the hyperlandscapes which abound (and are only growing).

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Oct 28, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

In my studies I’ve come to understand that a mythological lexicon is what we’re looking for. Gestalts within gestalts. But in order for this to work we will become the gestalts (communities) within larger gestalts (communities).

I’m thinking an AI quantum computer (?) that can hold all of these stories and impressions as they happen in realtime, comparing them to past patterns and future possibilities. This will eventually be (in a healthy world) what keeps the balance between all of the storylines that make up our existence as beings on this earth.

It’s a beautiful thing—I’m not sure how far future it is. Essentially we have the capability to create what great shamans in many indigenous cultures did for smaller communities (forecasting out 7 generation while problem-solving)

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author

Just seeing this. Love it as a new angle on the solution I was circling.

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Love the take. And totally agree with the need for religiosity/community and the need for the reincarnation of narratives for the techno-flashpoint of our current times.

But, and it is kinda petty, Solid W for you - for recognizing Huxley's Brave New World as the more superior-subliminal blueprint of how a dystopia can emerge. 1984 is good too, but the constant parroting of "Big Brother" this and that by everyone on social media kinda gets to me. Because most people don't recognize the Huxleyan narrative is actually the more prevalent mode of coercion the world over.

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Apr 8, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

Wow. WOW. W O W ! ❤️ You brought forth so many thoughts, feelings and emotions as I was reading I was gobsmacked. The landscape of our lives and the stories we tell rolled into a sliver of silicon, every angle of this beautiful and frightening revolution that’s upon us, examined with thought and insight. Thank you.

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Oct 28, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

What if the problem isn’t that “knowing thyself” is too difficult a feat, but rather (thus far) western society has not cultivated (from all these tools of invention) a clear path to community actualization in regards to the global community?

I enjoyed this read, and I do believe that for those who feel writing a steep cognitive load, AI will offer aid and tools. However, the ultimate goal should be to find oneself (self actualization) so that a person can be apart of community actualization: where we build the global landscape and communicate beyond our physical borders. The Tower of Babel that seems will elude us no further.

The answer will never be “use AI so it doesn’t take your place in the world.” It will always be: “use whatever tools ethically available ‘to find your place’ in this world.”

Not a critique of your work, (which I’m pleased to have found) but a diverse perspective from a Black and Indigenous peer in the field.

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Great essay, many of it resonates with me, especially the last part on the incredible seductive power of AI companions.

One thing I’d challenge you on is “Because of the written word, humans are capable of great good and evil – and not much in between. Modern history proves this to be the case.”

I would argue that the history of humanity, before and after the written word, is everything in between of good and evil. And the written word has also provided us with the tools to be so much more nuanced, it made the in-between space so much bigger: think about the laws that we where able to write, a man-made justice system that wouldn’t have existed weren’t it for the written word.

If you’d like to say that the written word makes evils more evil, I would not point to the big wars, because these big wars were so violent not because of words, but because of the invention of guns, tanks, and the atomic bomb.

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Apr 12, 2023·edited Apr 12, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

Absolutely resonates, wonderful range on your part ... some part of me was waiting for Milton to be invoked in all this AI

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Apr 9, 2023Liked by James Taylor Foreman

Masterful--another great post, Taylor. Well done!

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This is great. Bravo. Loved so many parts of this.

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author

Thanks, Charlotte :)

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Wow! Great piece so far… I’m going to finish reading it tomorrow! Until then, it gives me a lot to think about. Thank you!

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