Whitewater, AI and the Martial Arts
On 30 June 2016, I almost drowned in a whitewater rafting accident on the Middle Ocoee River in Polk County, Tennessee. Pinned under a raft that smashed me into underwater rocks, no air and sucking water into my lungs, it was a very, very bad situation. I believe I'm alive today because of my martial arts training (30+ years). But I never in my life thought that the fight of my life would be with a river.
Whitewater feels like an appropriate metaphor for the cultural challenges ahead for effectively and ethically integrating AI into daily life. Humanity has just started to navigate a wicked set of technical and societal rapids that will play out over the next 15 or so years because of technologies surrounding natural language processing, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. Not only are we blending together our physical and digital experiences, we are starting to weave human culture directly into machine code and vice-versa. Machines are changing human behavior even as human behavior affects how machines learn about the world.
We need to re-think how we navigate the economic and social change caused by Artificial Intelligence. We need to develop guides who can identify how technical and cultural hydraulics mix together and can pinpoint where these culture & code collisions are intense and where they eddy away. That's why I've built the Media Dojo.