Today's Call Notes -- Practice Before the Practice

Nipun Mehta, Aug 17, 2023 in Service Fellows

[Notes from today's call, following our previous invitation.]

One of the hottest issues in AI these days is "alignment" -- that AI systems support the best interest of humans. OpenAI just announced that 20% of its resources will be dedicated to this.

But align to what kind of human? To push that conversation well beyond "economic man" status quo, we helped convene a group of indigenous elders (from New Zealand's Maori tribe to Native American tribal elders to African shamans) and tech innovators  (from leadership of Stanford's human-centered AI group to founder of a multi-billion dollar media company) last weekend in Mt. Shasta.

Fleshing that out further, about 40 of us are signed up for experimenting with our own private bots, and this morning, Manu offered us a nice orientation into our collective intention (full call recording here) ...

In a beautiful moment this weekend in Mt. Shasta, I found myself in deep conversation with the son of the tribal leader of the Winneme Wintu tribe -- Pom. (This 4-minute video on Pom is worth a watch.) While the world has notoriously turned everything into "content", their people have worked against all odds to retain context. Embedded in our trusted kinship, we explored a paradoxical "NativeGPT", as a kind of aikido move to preserve oral traditions and the intelligences embedded in it. A different kind of energy took over the room. We spoke about how he could use this excuse to go tribe to tribe, and bring them together around some of these ideas. After an hour of our spontaneous conversation (and demos of our various bots), Pom held his palms together in a slow, deliberate way, and relayed a message to all of you -- "Thank you." Outside, amidst days of 106-degree heat, rain and thunder unexpectedly graced the moment. 

"There is always a practice before the practice; a sitting before the incomprehensible long enough to feel and sometimes understand the mystery each instrument and craft is designed to invoke." (Mark Nepo)

Indeed, twenty-five years of ServiceSpace experiments outside of market logic is the practice before the "product".

Thank you for standing for that practice.

If you'd like to join a similar circle, please explore upcoming pods.