[COPY] Embodied Ethics in The Age of AI

[COPY] Embodied Ethics in The Age of AI

A co-learning journey with The Emerald Podcast’s Josh Schrei

Plus, Special Guests Michael Garfield, Andrew Dunn, Elena Lake Polozova, Turquoise Sound, Mara Zapeda, Sara Jolena Wolcott, and Evan Sharp

🗓️ 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16

🗺️ Online

🎟️ Enroll Here



Inspired by The Emerald Podcast’s episode on AI, magic, and responsibility, this course is for anyone interested in the relationship between myth, ritual, ethics, business, and technology. People from all walks of life — engineers, innovators, educators, business leaders, artists, coaches, counselors, and ritualists — will learn valuable new perspectives and practices.

Over five weeks of talks, co-learning sessions, and 24/7 ambient online discourse, you will:

  • Study what diverse societies through history can teach us in the modern era about power, technology, responsibility, and living in right relation with non/human intelligences
  • Make connections and engage in stimulating discourse with dozens of kindred spirits
  • Work both alone and together to apply new insights to your life, organization, and projects
  • Develop a more grounded, curious, and proactive stance toward technological innovation
  • Exercise better solo and group sense-making for our era of exponential change

🪄 Context & Intention

The rapid evolution of AI has prompted widespread discourse about the benefits and risks of transformative technologies, the fundamental nature of intelligence, and how to better wield and regulate accelerating innovation. But when policymakers can’t keep track of all the change and tech companies are slaved to relentless market pressures, ethics cannot simply be imposed from above. This moment asks us to look deeper into how human beings throughout history have constructed individual, ecological, and societal frameworks for using power wisely. This course is for anyone who feels a call to embody tech ethics in individual and collective behavior — to navigate the complexity of this century with head and heart, and wield our magic tools with wisdom.
Last year storyteller Josh Schrei’s podcast episode ‘So You Want to Be a Sorcerer in the Age of Mythic Powerschallenged listeners to explore the AI through the lenses of myth, magic, and ritual. Schrei’s immensely popular recording made waves in the tech space and joined a rich body of earlier scholarship — including works by Erik Davis, Michael Garfield, and Sam Arbesman — exploring how occult and religious thought shapes the stories people tell about technology and the ways we use it. But it’s one thing to read and listen to these explorations, and another to engage in them together. The time has come for us to engage in more direct and deliberate sense-making about the roles of initiation, accountability, long-term thinking, and ethical design in an age where thoughts almost instantly become things.
Core human drives animate our urge to tinker with the world and its intelligences: the longing for mystery, the desire to return to a world of uncontrollable great powers, and ultimately, a yearning for guidance and initiation. When we understand the deeper forces at play, we can begin to establish personal practices and communal frameworks that temper such drives and give them structures for healthy expression. There are enormous consequences for how we live, how we practice, how we launch and run companies, and even how we code.
In this five-part course, Josh and special guests — including former members of Meta, The Center for Humane Technology, and The Santa Fe Institute — will explore what it means to adapt at every level, individual and collective, to an era of exponential technology “indistinguishable from magic.”

ℹ️ Logistics

Course offerings are all optional. Recordings will be shared after each session for attendees to reflect and for anyone who can’t attend live. Asynchronous chat and office hours form a substantial part of this co-learning group’s process and your opportunities to build meaningful new relationships with others in the course.

  • 5 Live Virtual Sessions
    • Thursdays 12:00 - 2:00 pm PT (April 18, April 25, May 2, May 9, May 16)
    • 90-minute presentations followed by Q&A and small-group discussions
  • Pre-recorded guest lectures with experts and role models (more info below)
  • Weekly Office Hours (Mondays 12:00 - 1:00 pm PT) with Andrew and Michael
  • A Private Discord Forum for 24/7 engagement with other participants
  • Additional inquiries and practices for you to explore on your own time
  • Ongoing access to all course materials in perpetuity

✅ Enrollment

The value you get from this course depends on the contributions of everyone involved — which is why we have adopted a flexible co-learning model and multiple tiers of financial support. Given how hard it is to cultivate both financial capital and free time for learning, we hope that this structure helps each participant pool their distinct wealth into a program that enriches everyone:

  • Student Rate: $300 for students and low-income practitioners.
  • Professional Rate: $600 for middle-income salaried tech workers and academics.
  • Executive Rate: $900 for those of greater means (including access to corporate budget) who want to support this team’s contributions to crucial discourse and community-building.
  • Scholarships Available for the technologically unemployed. Tell us your story!

📚 Outline

Toggle each heading for more details:

Part 1: The Mythic Implications of AI

With the rise of AI we are entering an era whose only corollary is the stuff of fairy tales and myths. Powers that used to be reserved for magicians and sorcerers — the power to access volumes of knowledge instantaneously, to create fully realized illusory otherworlds, to deceive, to conjure, to transport, to materialize on a massive scale — are no longer hypothetical. The age of metaphor is over. The mythic powers are real. Are human beings prepared to handle such powers?

In this first part of our course, we’ll explore the rise of AI through the mythic framework and look at the deeper drives underpinning AI development.

Part 2: Individual Initiation in the Age of AI

What does it mean to be personally prepared to be working with powerful technology? In traditional cultures and knowledge systems there was an initiatory process through which potentially world-altering knowledge was embodied slowly over time. Individuals who were entrusted to wield such power were expected to go through a process of initiation, tempering, and slow, gradual learning to ensure that they could handle such power. This went far beyond what is now covered in a modern-day tech ethics course and involved a deep process of building relationality and dismantling egoic drives.

This portion of the course will explore what a process of individual initiation and tempering might look like in the modern world.

Part 3: Ecologies of Accountability

How can embodied accountability be instituted on a company-wide and society-wide scale? What does it mean to communally embody ethics? In many traditional systems, individual achievement is less important than relationality and the ecology of the whole has precedent over the wants of the individual. Therefore, many traditional cultures see the world not in terms of what we are permitted to do but what we are required to do — not in terms of freedom but in terms of responsibility.

This segment explores what an ecology of responsibility looks like, and how we might structure our companies and tech environments to foster accountability, relationality, and sustainability over time.

Part 4: Re-prioritizing Slow Growth

When confronted with the suggestion that AI developers might consider slowing down a bit in their rush to get new technologies to market, the response is often — ‘that’s impossible — market forces and international competition won’t allow for it.’ And yet a consistent voice that encourages individual and societal slowdown is deeply important. A culture that unleashes new unproven technologies with no planning beyond next quarter is not only flirting with potentially catastrophic consequences but is also ensuring that their innovations won’t last. Slowdown is how we guarantee longevity. But what does slowing down actually mean? It’s not always as dramatic as we think.

This portion of the course will cast a new light on how slowing down — both individually and collectively — is how systems that actually stand the test of time are built.

Part 5: Towards Embodied Intelligence

Tech companies have put forward the proposition that intelligence, once fully realized, will solve everything. Yet intelligence as it is defined in the tech world — computational capability — does not solve anything meaningful in and of itself. Intelligence with no anchor to practice, to relationality, or to living systems remains an abstraction, and there are tangible consequences to constructing our lives and our educational systems around abstracted intelligence. What would it mean to redefine intelligence? What would it look like to build relationality and accountability into the technologies themselves?

This final portion of the course explores how the tech itself can come to embody ethics, and how rethinking the way we approach and interface with tech will determine how it can be integrated into our lives harmoniously rather than disruptively.

🧑‍💻 Team





Joshua Michael Schrei (Teacher) is the founder and host of The Emerald podcast, which draws from a deep well of poetry, lore, and mythos to challenge conventional narratives on politics and public discourse, meditation and mindfulness, art, science, literature, and more. A writer, teacher, and a lifelong student of the cosmologies and mythologies of the world — in particular, the Indian subcontinent — Josh has sought to navigate the living, animate space of the imagination and advocate for a world that prioritizes imaginative vision. Josh has taught intensive courses in cosmology, mythology, and somatic disciplines for nearly 20 years.

Michael Gregory Garfield (Host) is the host of Future Fossils Podcast, a series of discussions at the edges of the known and knowable. Trained in evolutionary biology before touring the world as an artist and musician, Michael joined The Santa Fe Institute in 2018 to run their #scicomm social media and flagship complexity science podcast. He left in 2023 to research innovation and computing for Mozilla, help launch an open source AI non-profit, and write essays on the future of human-technology co-evolution. In his spare time he has produced over 100 hours of original music for film, yoga, deep listening, and journeywork.

Elena Lake Polozova (TA) is a former machine learning engineer at Meta turned private-practice bodyworker and student of the mythosomatic. She also has six years of experience in math, computer science, and physics academia, as well as deep inquiries into nature connection, emotional space-holding, and dance. She’ll bring her interdisciplinary backgrounds across embodiment and technology to help answer your questions at the office hours.

Andrew Murray Dunn (Producer) is a student at the intersection of human development and innovation, currently focused on co-activating the Wise Innovation Project. He works as a transdisciplinary visionary and pollinator, helping people bring ideas to life in ways that are more awesome for all involved. Before serving as Innovation Lead at Center for Humane Technology, Andrew spent over ten years in early stage startup operations — most notably with the pioneering Public Benefit Corporation Siempo while they developed an award-winning open source humane smartphone interface.

🎙️ Guest Speakers



Turquoise Sound Leadership, Culture & Strategic Advisory



Evan Sharp Co-founder, Pinterest

🙋🏼‍♀️ FAQ

Who is this for?

  • This course is for anyone and everyone with an interest in tech ethics — not just those who work in AI but also:
    • Tech, business, and social change leaders in critical junctures of their development.
    • Founders and executives, investors and philanthropists, and rising leaders with a sense that something needs to change.
    • Anyone asking deeper questions, or with a growing psycho-spiritual orientation, or who feels motivated to take their next steps on a journey towards greater alignment.
    • Coaches, therapists, healers, and others who serve those in the process of growth.
    • Artists, authors, journalists, educators, and anyone else with the motivation.

I can’t make these dates / times. Will you offer the course again?

All lectures will be recorded and shared with students and enrolling grants you access to 24/7 asynchronous discussion in a private forum. When we’ll host the course again is TBD.

Subscribe to School of Wise Innovation’s newsletter to be informed of upcoming offerings.

Are there any volunteer opportunities?

We would love your help — especially if you can help us design social media content or various other forms of art from our talks and other course materials. Please get in touch!

Contact us

This course is the first major offering from Wise Innovation Project, an emerging non-profit initiative with a mission to re-imagine innovation education.