Embodied Ethics in The Age of AI
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Embodied Ethics in The Age of AI

A five-part course with The Emerald Podcast’s Josh Schrei, School of Wise Innovation’s Andrew Dunn, & Special Guests

🗓️ NEW DATES: April 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16

🗺️ Place: Online

💰 Price: $300+

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🪄 Intention

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The rise of generative AI has generated a rush of conversation about benefits and risks, sentience and intelligence, and the need for ethics and regulatory measures. Yet ‘ethics’ — in an era of never-before-seen technological powers and relentless rush to market — can’t simply be imposed from the outside. The proliferation of AI asks us to look deeper into how human beings have historically constructed individual, ecological, and societal frameworks in which world-altering powers can live sustainably — and to re-imagine ethics as actual embodied practice.
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Storyteller Josh Schrei made waves with his podcast episode ‘So You Want to Be a Sorcerer in the Age of Mythic Powers, which challenged listeners to start to explore AI through the lens of myth, story, and magic. When we do so, we see that the drive to create AI goes beyond narratives of ingenuity, progress, profit, or the creation of a more controllable, convenient world.
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Buried deep in this urge to tinker with sentience are core human drives — the longing for mystery, the want to live again in a world of great powers beyond our control, and ultimately, the unconscious longing for guidance and initiation. When we understand the deeper drives at play, we can begin to establish personal practices and communal frameworks that temper such drives. This has implications for how we live, how we practice, how companies structure themselves, and even how we code.
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In this five-part course, Josh will join School of Wise Innovation’s Andrew Dunn to explore a vision of embodied ethics in the age of AI — what it means to shift our individual, ecological, and societal vision and practice to accommodate the rise of unprecedented powers.

ℹ️ Logistics

  • 5 Live Virtual Sessions | 90min, + optional 30min Q&A
    • Thursdays 12 - 2pm PT (April 18, April 25, May 2, May 9, May 16)
    • Presentation x discussion in smaller groups
    • Recordings will be available for those who can’t attend live
  • Pre-recorded guest lectures with experts and role models (see below)
  • Weekly optional Office Hours (Mondays 12 - 1pm PT) with Andrew and community
  • Self-directed retreat day (optional)
  • Ongoing questions and practice suggestions for students to explore on their own time
  • Ongoing access to all course materials
  • 1 year of free access to regular School of Wise Innovation integration containers

✅ Enrollment

  • Student Rate: $300 for students and practitioners with little expendable income
  • Professional Rate: $600 for professionals and those able to contribute a little more to the vision
  • Executive Rate: $900 for those of greater financial means (including access to corporate budget) who understand the amount of work that goes into creating a course like this and want to support the long-term vision
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📚 Course Outline

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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

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Joshua Michael Schrei 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. Andrew Murray Dunn is a student at the intersection of human development and innovation, currently focused on building School of Wise Innovation. Faith-grounded and queer, he serves as a trans-disciplinary visionary and pollinator, helping people bring ideas to life in ways that are more awesome for all involved. Most recently serving as Innovation Lead at Center for Humane Technology, Andrew holds 10+ years of early stage startup operations experience, most notably in stewarding Siempo: a pioneering Public Benefit Corporation that developed an award-winning, open source, humane smartphone interface.

Elena Lake Polozova (TA) is a former machine learning engineer at Meta, turned private-practice bodyworker and student of the mythosomatic. She also has 6 years of experience in math, computer science, and physics academia, as well as deep inquiries into nature connection, emotional spaceholding, and dance. She’ll bring her interdisciplinary backgrounds across embodiment and technology to help answer your questions at the office hours.

🎙️ Guest Speakers

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Turquoise Sound Leadership, Culture & Strategic Advisory

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Evan Sharp Co-founder, Pinterest

🙋🏼‍♀️ FAQ

Who is this for?

  • Not only for those who work in AI! It’s for tech, business, and social change leaders in critical junctures of their development. Founders and executives, investors and philanthropists, rising leaders with a sense that something needs to change. Asking deeper questions, growing psycho-spiritual orientation, feeling obligated and/or motivated to take next steps on their journey towards greater alignment.
  • Those who support these professionals: coaches, therapists, healers, service providers
  • Those highly interested in this topic

Why was the course postponed from winter to spring?

Things were feeling tight, rushed, not quite wise innovation vibes. We also heard lots of feedback from potential students about the timing. We are committed to offering the course in April and May, and are grateful for additional lead time to help us craft a more impactful experience.

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

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

Are there any volunteer opportunities?

We are seeking support on:

  • Designing social media content out of insights from sessions
    • Various forms of art welcomed
  • Taking notes on themes that come up in class and office hours
  • Sharing course with business and engineering student populations
  • Sharing course with investor, accelerator, Big Tech communities

Please get in touch if interested!

Contact us

This course is the first major offering from School of Wise Innovation, an emerging non-profit initiative with a mission to re-imagine innovation education. You can learn more here.