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Time to Take a Deep Cleansing Breath

You can ask yourself many things as you come to the end of one year and start another.

The thing I like to do is have a fallow period – a comma in the conversation – to allow my thoughts to fully expand and reach areas that they will not usually go. I use this break to realign my thoughts with my direction.

I find this is akin to taking a big cleaning breath or two. Focus on breathing and ensure that you block everything else. Tai Chi, meditation, yoga, karate, or similar requires precise thought to create precise movement. In those moments, you are fully aware of your physical being.

Disconnecting yourself from the mental toil – the daily work – is essential to our thought processes and for our thoughts to progress. We use the periods at the end of the year and during our vacations to allow our thoughts to settle. Similarly, we use physical activity during the year to disconnect from our thoughts or worries and let our bodies settle. This helps our minds settle.

So thinking back to what we have learned in 2022. Have we seen NFTs as mainly worthless? Have we seen a reckoning for crypto? We have certainly seen ML in the spotlight and that AIs are more now than just toys. OpenAI and others like midjourney are making inroads into artistic and intellectual endeavours.

This throws up a couple of philosophical questions. Firstly, where does the value in continued human artistic endeavour truly lie? Like it has with Chess or Go, ML may surpass our knowledge of the art and take it to the next level. Will it then also explain the art to us?

Secondly, as Philip K Dick asked, Do Androids Really Dream of Electric Sheep? Do AIs need to take a vacation, to have a break, just like we do to make sense of their learning? How do AIs get their kicks and achieve learning away from the task at hand? Without a physical body, or an analogue thereof, can an AI truly experience and learn in the same way that a human does? And what inroads are being made in that space?

Because to err is human, to forgive divine. Can an AI learn to forgive us?

As we all know, we cannot keep going for the whole year, totally ON. We need downtime, we need healing, we need connection with our families and with our friends.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2023.