Skip to content
foxwizard ☾

🔮 Wisen up about AI—11 recommendations

Three are absolutely essential (and three are mediocre but accessible).

A friend of mine suggested that some of my “best stuff” is “buried” within my museletters, and that I ought share these more directly. I like to reward the curious—but, in this distraction economy, there is some merit to their advice. And so—plucked from a recent museletter—here are some articles and podcasts I currently recommend to any seeking to develop wise discernment with regard to artificial intelligence. Numbers 1, 3 and 11 are essential. 🏮

Note that I share these so as to stir up better thinking, at higher orders of complexity, wider boundaries of consideration and greater gestalts. Because: such is the role I oft play. If you seek to merely wield artificial intelligence in pursuit of narrow goals over shorter time horizons then, well: that’s a different conversation entirely.

  1. Artificial Intelligence and the Superorganism
    This conversation between Nate Hagens and Daniel Schmachtenberger is essential listening. Essential. The thing is: this conversation is over three hours in length, and the first two hours are spent on the fundamental principles to keep in mind when considering the impact that artificial intelligence will have in our world. I’ve shared this with friends, imploring them to listen to it so that we might explore the topic together. It’s been well over a year and only a handful have listened to it. This is fine. Three hours of anyone’s attention is a big ask in this distraction economy. What with the new season of House of the Dragon just out, etcetera. But—given that few people will actually invest the time—you taking the time to immerse in this properly will convey distinct strategic advantage. This is how you cultivate in-house intelligence and wise discernment.
  2. Life 3.0 by Max Tegmak
    It’s a little old now, but I thought I ought share a reference that isn’t completely disenchanted and doomer. This book—whilst now six years old and thus ancient—does a good job of clarifying basic terms and key debates, whilst also dispelling the common myths associated with AI (robotic uprisings, and so on).
  3. Better Without AI by David Chapman
    It’s good to read from folk who have worked deeply within the field of artificial intelligence. David Chapman holds a PhD in artificial intelligence, and this metabook “explores moderate apocalypses that could result from current and near-future AI technology. These are relatively overlooked risks: not extreme sci-fi extinction scenarios, nor the media’s obsession with ‘ChatGPT said something naughty’ trivia. Rather: realistically likely disasters, up to the scale of our history’s worst wars and oppressions.”
  4. I Will Fucking Piledrive You If You Mention AI Again
    I don’t know who this (evidently Australian) anon author is, but I love the way they write. Such cut-through is refreshing in this land proliferated by what Professor John Vervaeke aptly calls a tsunami of bullshit. This author has also written a great hit-piece on “leadership off-sites”, too (which is, ironically, the work I do—but not like this). Anyways, it’s important to read from sources like this. Here’s a quote: “Unless you are one of a tiny handful of businesses who know exactly what they're going to use AI for, you do not need AI for anything—or rather, you do not need to do anything to reap the benefits.” Curious? Read more. (That’s a general statement, but here’s the link again).
  5. Ways to Think About AGI by Benedict Evens
    Benedict is a technology writer, it’s what he does. This recent-ish piece provides a decent frame for how you might think about artificial general intelligence. Would we even recognise it? This short piece is refreshing because it talks to the fundamental uncertainty behind AGI.
  6. If You’re Driving Off a Cliff, Do You Need a Faster Car?
    An apt summary of contextual concerns from Richard Heinberg (a Senior Fellow of Post Carbon Institute).
  7. Values, Education, AI and the Metacrisis
    This conversation between Nate Hagens and Zak Stein explores a topic that would be on the mind of many parents. What does the future look like for our children, in this world of exponential AI? What implications does this have for teaching, schooling and education (all distinct concepts, btw)? “How is unfettered technology and artificial intelligence influencing youth—and what should parents, adults, and teachers be doing in response?”
  8. The Culture series by Iain M Banks
    I’ve talked of this before. If you want a glimpse of a nice future where humans have given rise to mostly-benevolent super-AGIs (Minds), this series is a must-read. It skips over how we get there, though. But there are hints. “Money is a sign of poverty”, Iain writes in The Player of Games. The Culture—being a post-scarcity civilisation—has moved beyond the need for economic transactions; eliminating systems that perpetuate inequality and poverty. These books will help fill the wells of your imagination.
  9. Situational Awareness—The Next Decade
    This is a recent essay from Leopold Aschenbrenner, who used to work at OpenAI. “[...] all of this is based on publicly-available information, my own ideas, general field-knowledge, or SF-gossip”. Now, I do love me some gossip—and this is an example of the kind of stuff I try to stay across. I’m no expert in AI myself—but I do maintain enough of a working sense of the interrelated elements to stay abreast of things. Lines like—“America must lead. The torch of liberty will not survive Xi getting AGI first.”—highlight the very real ‘race’ that is in play right now.
  10. Exploring AI and the Metacrisis
    My friend Stephen Reid shares a grounded yet optimistic sense of how AI may yet be directed towards better outcomes for our planet. I’m including this here just to balance things out a little—it’s not all doom and gloom. Just: mostly. 😅
  11. AI in the Age of Mythic Powers by Josh Schrei
    I’ve linked you to the article above, but the second essential listen (in addition to the first piece I shared with you) is this audio artwork by Josh Schrei—So You Want to Be a Sorcerer in the Age of Mythic Powers. It’s balanced, grounded, and above all—mythic. And wise. All at once.

You’ll find more of my own musings deeper within the museletters I share. But to quote again from a recent one:

Over a year ago, I alluded to the rise of Artificially Intelligent “thought leaders”. Folks who perpetuate the narrative, the meme, the myth of AI without any wise discernment. There’s a lot of money to be made in this, because there is a lot of hope and hype baked into AI.

The result of following such folk, though, is that many organisations will act like the red team in this video below.

Instead of positioning themselves for future relevance (like the blue team), they’ll spend all their time and effort chasing the ball.*

* The ball, in this instance, represents the hope and hype of AI.

The first step is to be more like the blue team. The next step is to ask: do we even need to be playing this game at all?

Except no! You have to. Your competitors are. And our rivalrous dynamics behoove us to participate and learn.

You just need to keep your wits about you.

// Where to now? //

Thanks for being here · I’m foxwizard (aka Dr Fox)

You can subscribe to my musings (or follow via RSS)

further musings

I have two newsletters for you–

1. the spellbook // wit, wisdom and wiles to help you be a more effective imposter within the mythical ‘future of leadership’.

2. the museletter // intimate longform epistles, wherein I share what’s on my mind, along with glimmers worth attending to.

Always one-click unsub. Loved by over 11,000 readers. Jump aboard–