Pluto In Aquarius & Artificial Intel

As you may have read in The First 50 Days Of Pluto In Aquarius, A.I. is clearly an emergent theme of this new astrological era. 

When I haven’t been busy trying to scoot billions of bots away from scavenging my words to “train A.I. models,” I’ve been reading: these are the most useful/interesting articles I’ve seen so I’m sharing here as an FYI. 

*AI Know What You Did Last Summer – Matt Barrie.

An incredibly info-dense and lengthy, brilliant take by the CEO of Freelancer.com. If you live in Australia, you may have read House of Cards, his epic-length take on the economy in 2017. This A.I. piece is just as detailed and informative – ie: incredibly.

*Why Generative A.I. Will Fail In 2024 – Julie Lokun

I hadn’t heard of the author – an entrepreneur, podcaster, biz coach & writer – before I came across this piece but I love her philosophy. The article is an audacious contrarian rave and a distinct upper for creatives who may be feeling a bit low re A.I.

*Eight Forecasts & Complications For The Years Ahead – Scott Belsky

This is an unabashed, full-tilt super-positive – evangelical, even – take on A.I. and its potential from the founder of Behance Scott Belsky. He’s now at Adobe, which gives me the merdes whenever I’ve used it but his book The Messy Middle is fantastic.

Thoughts? Or A.I. article recommendations?

Note: If you’re reading this confused because you thought Pluto went into Aquarius last March, the diagram in this post (scroll down) will help.

Image: Masao Saito

13 thoughts on “Pluto In Aquarius & Artificial Intel”

  1. Thanks so much for gathering these, Mystic. As a writer and creative, I have indeed been feeling dispirited by a lot of the AI stuff going and am so looking forward to reading these after I dispatch with a deadline. Also interested in how you’re fending off the bots that are pent to scrape the site as well as any other ungated material online.

    For now, wanted to share my own two favorite essays on AI:

    The first is by Taurus Jaron Lanier, VR pioneer and one of my absolute favorite thinkers on tech in general: https://www.newyorker.com/science/annals-of-artificial-intelligence/there-is-no-ai

    The data dignity idea Lanier mentions seems like a huge deal and I hope it’s adopted, though judging by the freefall of social media over the pluto in cap era I’m leery to get my hopes two far up.

    And the second essay is a totally fascinating Guardian piece on Capricorn Joseph Wiezenbaum, one of AI’s early pioneers who was also a progressive and worried about what it was enabling in terms of reactionary corporate and government policies: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/jul/25/joseph-weizenbaum-inventor-eliza-chatbot-turned-against-artificial-intelligence-ai

    Extended pull quote:
    “For Weizenbaum, judgment involves choices that are guided by values. These values are acquired through the course of our life experience and are necessarily qualitative: they cannot be captured in code. Calculation, by contrast, is quantitative. It uses a technical calculus to arrive at a decision. Computers are only capable of calculation, not judgment. This is because they are not human, which is to say, they do not have a human history – they were not born to mothers, they did not have a childhood, they do not inhabit human bodies or possess a human psyche with a human unconscious – and so do not have the basis from which to form values.

    “And that would be fine, if we confined computers to tasks that only required calculation. But thanks in large part to a successful ideological campaign waged by what he called the “artificial intelligentsia”, people increasingly saw humans and computers as interchangeable. As a result, computers had been given authority over matters in which they had no competence. (It would be a “monstrous obscenity”, Weizenbaum wrote, to let a computer perform the functions of a judge in a legal setting or a psychiatrist in a clinical one.) Seeing humans and computers as interchangeable also meant that humans had begun to conceive of themselves as computers, and so to act like them. They mechanised their rational faculties by abandoning judgment for calculation, mirroring the machine in whose reflection they saw themselves.

    “This had especially destructive policy consequences. Powerful figures in government and business could outsource decisions to computer systems as a way to perpetuate certain practices while absolving themselves of responsibility. Just as the bomber pilot ‘is not responsible for burned children because he never sees their village’, Weizenbaum wrote, software afforded generals and executives a comparable degree of psychological distance from the suffering they caused.

    “Letting computers make more decisions also shrank the range of possible decisions that could be made. Bound by an algorithmic logic, software lacked the flexibility and the freedom of human judgment. This helps explain the conservative impulse at the heart of computation. Historically, the computer arrived “just in time”, Weizenbaum wrote. But in time for what? “In time to save – and save very nearly intact, indeed, to entrench and stabilise – social and political structures that otherwise might have been either radically renovated or allowed to totter under the demands that were sure to be made on them.”

    “Computers became mainstream in the 1960s, growing deep roots within American institutions just as those institutions faced grave challenges on multiple fronts. The civil rights movement, the anti-war movement and the New Left are just a few of the channels through which the era’s anti-establishment energies found expression. Protesters frequently targeted information technology, not only because of its role in the Vietnam war but also due to its association with the imprisoning forces of capitalism. In 1970, activists at the University of Wisconsin destroyed a mainframe during a building occupation; the same year, protesters almost blew one up with napalm at New York University.”

    <3

  2. Thanks for the heads up Mystic, as always. Yeah, nah – AI or the likes of ChatGPT are not for me. I experimented with it out of curiosity, but what it generates is bland, lacks soul and nuance and is often wrong. I’m going old school. Ordered a number of books on the weekend (most on the recommendation of Ryan Holiday; if you haven’t read any of his books, I highly recommend ‘Stillness is the Key’). No electricity, CPUs or network required. “Because the future belongs to those with the ability to focus, be creative, and think at a high level” – Ryan Holiday. And when there’s black- and brown-outs as a result of ridiculous government energy policies, a book will be worth its weight in gold…

  3. I have a podcast on AI (and emergent tech) that intersects with spirituality, philosophy and ancient religion called The Alchemy of Innovation. I focus on a few things: one, it’s not going away. I remember social media was just a fad, until it wasn’t. Two, it’s up to humans to human better so that AI does better. Three, reading itself becomes digital not analog. upload a book into a custom GPT and query it, rather than reading it. Ask it to make a movie of the book using your children as characters. (impact of TV and radio and film on reading – version 3 😳😍). Four we need to raise the intellectual ceiling of adults. AI mentor us. Five, think of AI as an alien, observing and learning and interacting with us. Cuddly ET or War of the Worlds? Fun fact: AI developers call this the p{doom} scenario (probability of doom= AI wiping out humanity).
    Consider this: Pluto exits Capricorn and then sticks around in Aquarius for 20 years. Will AI replace so many jobs that Universal Basic Income (recently hinted at in the lockdowns) become much more likely? Societal structure goes through a strange pivot? I’m leaning towards this.
    Caveat Emptor: I’ve been a lecturer in AI for a couple of decades and advise Gov and Corporates on AI strategy. My view is coloured by this experience.

  4. Alchemical_Magician

    Hi mm, I’m back after a brief hiatus. I remember what you said about really grounding into the land & stepping away from the hubbub of control ie; not relying so much on national resources, evaluating our own etc. This is of course, a work in progress Myst however, here in the UK, there is a terse situation of monitoring & surveillance which I absolutely want to opt out of, one of bank scrolling. I have an independent bank who are frankly lovely & were recommended years ago. I think they will recognise ethically but they haven’t so far made any statements.
    So to what extent is the balance best ridden between AI in the here & now, plus minus developments which may/may not have our best interests at ♡. Where’s the balance for our sense of peace & personally emotional security? I really do not want to engage in paranoid thinking. Keeping it real, keeping it grounded, xxx A/M, nee Wizardora

  5. I just read an article on the website of Information Architects (new to me), titled ‘The End of Writing’. I was struck by the following passage:
    ‘We need to rethink ourselves—and we need to observe AI. And we need to observe it now, as it still makes obvious mistakes and reveals through its bugs how it works. Once it simulates us perfectly, we won’t understand it at all anymore. We won’t be able to discern it from us and understand how it works.
    Right now, and that not something one should say lightly, AI acts a lot like cancer. It grows uncontrolled out of our organic knowledge, and it grows where that organic knowledge already has developed some carcinogenic tissue. Visually, AI generated pictures often look like a form of cancer.‘

  6. Jeanette Winterson’s 12 Bytes is a fantastically engaging book of essays on the history and future potential of AI. Eclectic, encompassing everything from the Industrial Revolution and Enclosure Acts, Mary Shelley, the predominance of women in tech early on when the skillset was assigned as ‘secretarial’, to the Buddha and Mythology. Loved it!

  7. Literally just cracked open “the Age of Aquarius Moon Omens” by Nina Lekic, literally. I bought it in mid 2022 and was just scrounging around my bookshelf (one of three) and found it but its not about AI. However I am pretty vocal in my household whenever I hear Morgan Freeman voice over and stilted faces with some random “important message” about Hemp Gummies. I am still a bit suss about writing or rewriting school resources with ChatGPT except for the very new Chinese student. Thanks Mystic I will have a look at these recommendations.

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