AI Alignment in a Divided or Holistic World View

By Kate Kheel of Safe Tech International

Technology and AI are different from other inventions such as the nuclear bomb or gene editing which are entities unto themselves. Tech and AI act on other systems increasing their scope, complexity, and speed. Whatever the endeavor at hand – be it good, bad, or values neutral – when integrated with tech and AI, it will grow exponentially. Energy from fossil fuels, though more a discovery than invention, also act on other systems by increasing their energy input and output by orders of magnitude. 

On multiple accounts, we are on the brink of societal collapse: wars, talk of nuclear “exchange”, loss of biodiversity; pollutants that permeate our air, food, water, and soil; distrust in governments and institutions; a food system that promotes cancers, heart disease, and obesity while depleting the land. An ocean full of plastic, and bustling with infrastructure, sonar, mining, and debris; more animals incarcerated in CAFOS than remain in the wild; an epidemic of depression and loneliness, and a generation lost to tech addiction. Our current state of affairs doesn’t bode well for a future with nearly all systems accelerated and exponentialized.

In considering how tech and AI will impact how (and if) the future unfolds, the question is often posed: Can we create AI to align with human values? But what exactly are human values?

Values are subjective and vary greatly from person to person and culture to culture. Values-based choices are context and culture dependent. People can have vastly different framing around a given action being considered, and choices of “right action” will vary accordingly.

Values require longterm and full-picture thinking

Good human values must take into account the long-term effects of one’s actions and the negative externalities (often outsourced) that will be shouldered by other living beings, future generations, and/or the biosphere. Admittedly, it is difficult to assess externalities and to assign accountability as a single externality may not be problematic, but when combined with other variables can have devastating effects.

Longterm and full-picture thinking are in short supply in our current economic system which is built on growth at all costs. A corporation that has a policy of being accountable for negative externalities they may cause, would likely go under in our current system.

Even if well-intentioned, we humans are quite shortsighted

But let’s presume for a moment that by aligning AI with human values we do mean optimizing for the long-term and avoiding externalities. Does the breadth and depth of our vision stretch to all corners of the Earth and into the future indefinitely? We’re limited finite beings, quite shortsighted even when well-intentioned. Imperfection is part and parcel of the human condition.

We learned in high school geometry that two lines that diverge from a single point may differ only infinitesimally at the start, but further down the road, will be vastly far apart. 

So too with values-based decisions translated into algorithms and extended exponentially into the future at speeds well beyond our ability to perceive, let alone control. An infinitesimal miscalculation in the original intention, values, or programing may result in future catastrophic eventualities or dystopias. So bottom line – we better get this right.

Iain McGilchrist, AI, and the supercharged left-brain

The 2009 treatise, The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist, discusses at length how the different world views of the left and right hemispheres of the brain impact us both individually and as a society.

The left is detailed oriented, sees the world in parts, and has a single-minded focus on achieving a given task. In Iain’s words, it favors, “manipulation – grabbing, getting and controlling” and is an inanimate universe. It’s like a map of the world which leaves out the sentience, flavors, and nuance of the actual world.

The right hemisphere sees more holistically and senses our interconnectedness with all life. Iain explains, “[It] sees not the representation but the living presence.” The right brain understands that life is ever evolving, and experiences an animate universe of richness, complexity, potential, and imagination.  

In principle, the two sides of the brain complement one another enabling us to go about our daily activities and accomplish necessary tasks (more left brain skillset) while still sensing we are part of a grander interconnected and integrated living system (a right brain skillset). 

Iain opines that since the Enlightenment, our Western civilization has moved increasingly to the left (i.e. left-brained thinking), “…drunk on the belief that it knows everything and can fix everything.”

In a recent essay, Resist the Machine Apocalypse, Iain notes the similarity between the left brain and artificial intelligence-processing which he says can be seen as “replicating the functions of the left hemisphere at frightening speed across the entire globe.” But unfortunately, there’s no right hemisphere to complement and balance this exaggerated AI “perspective,” as a right-hemisphere holistic worldview, by its very nature, cannot be divided into data, bits, and algorithms. (NB, Iain refers to AI as artificial intelligence-processing since AI does not have actual intelligence.)

How the carbon pulse brought about a shift to the left

Energy is everywhere. All beings give and receive energy through actions, words, sounds, smells, thoughts, feelings, intentions etc. Even at death, there is an exchange of energy as our biomass is converted into nutrients that feed Earth, or nourish the ocean in the case of marine life. Life is the interplay and flow of energy systems acting upon and through one another, weaving together and evolving into an infinitely complex and exquisite tapestry of ever-changing forms and happenings. The right hemisphere of the brain understands this implicitly and embraces the change, while the left hemisphere holds steadfast to its beliefs and to a static world view.

The single most life-changing discovery that brought about our move to the left (left brain, not politic) since the enlightenment was the advent of fossil fuels. What Nate Hagen refers to as the carbon pulse is the ever-so-small moment in time we’re living through now. The discovery of fossil fuels has monumentally increased our available “manpower,” dramatically curtailing and interfering with the flow of natural more human-scale energy. The influx of vast amounts of exogenous energy into our civilization has altered nearly all facets of life – our culture, economy, values, and relationship to one another and Earth.

The carbon pulse and the evolution of consciousness

We have experienced much material wealth and comfort with the additional energy, and it has enabled extraordinary inventions and possibilities. But we are beginning to sense there’s been a profound tradeoff. A “story of separation” has come to permeate our world and has taken up residence within us. We have experienced the dire consequences of a world where true giving, receiving, and perceiving have been supplanted by more, faster, and growth at all costs; and tech and AI have made this fallout yet more pronounced.

Thankfully, Earth’s supply of quality crude oil is finite and beginning to dwindle. And renewables, which are dependent on fossil fuels and other Earth elements, only serve to kick the can down the road.

The societal transformation the carbon pulse has brought about, has played a significant role in the evolution of our consciousness and has prepared us for the denouement and sequel that will follow. We have learned first hand what happens when we veer too far to the left and lose touch with the wholeness of life.

How things will unfold is an unknown. But from what we’ve seen and experienced first hand, it appears that exponentializing our current way of life would be unwise, and frankly absurd.

Control our appetite or redirect it?

Reining in our appetite for ever more would be a never-ending battle, as chasing evermore physical pleasure, sensations, and “stuff” is a built-in feature of human nature…at least when we’re this far off course. What we desire seems never enough and to never last. And controlling desire feels like a hopelessly exhausting battle when submerged in a world of perpetual growth decoupled from the biosphere and well-being.

If we are to steward Tech and AI with wisdom, so the world doesn’t become yet more left-brain lopsided, we must find another outlet for desire.

Redirecting desire toward expanding consciousness

Rather than waging a never-ending war to control our appetite, we can redirect our desire for expansion, and growth toward consciousness itself. With unending and ever-expanding more right-brained consciousness, we will no longer be a blight on Mother Earth and can begin to live as one with her.

What would inner expansion to a more enlightened value system entail?

Aligning ourselves with more enlightened values will involve settling back into the true infrastructure of life – the natural world. It will entail disconnecting from our current hyper-technologized and super-charged pace of life, and slowing down to experience more. To partake of and live from the substance and richness of our inner world where enough is truly and generously enough.

As we settle into a more peaceful rhythm, we will find a world of simplicity and subtlety inviting us ever deeper into the gentle vibrations of being – where the finest murmurings of life can be experienced directly in their true essence and vibrancy, and where the voice of our intuition is at long last heard and heeded.

Noticing the taste, textures, feel, and colors of a single grape can awaken gratitude within us, which itself is a gift. The touch of Earth beneath our feet as we open ourselves to the scents and caresses of springtime and to the songs of life. Discovering a portal through which we can enter and walk in the garden of satiation – a garden of just enough, and no more. We may find our souls nostalgically weeping tears of joy as we experience the sweet point of satiation which we lost so long ago.

As this expanding consciousness joyously spreads her wings and begins to dance freely from person to person, traveling on the waves of light-filled eyes and open hearts, accompanied by the music of laughter and held aloft by the flowering of deeds of kindness, neighborhoods will begin to bustle with farmer’s markets, festivals, music, art, dance, friendship, and a thriving sharing economy.

In Iain’s words, we’ll need “spontaneity, openness to risk, and trust in our intuition in order to exercise imagination and creativity—and in order to be alive and truly present.”

Each one of us will unharness our unique soul and set it free to find its way Home.

As we re-engage with the right side of our brains and this more sentient holistic view of life, we may no longer be constrained by the broad-brushed strokes of the spoken language; and our more enlightened consciousness may spread through the fabric of life at lightning-fast speeds. Thought by thought, intention by intention, and deed by deed. Faster even than the speed of the AI rollout.


In Chassidus – the more mystical teachings of the Torah – the “good” and “bad” inclinations are often seen to be in a tug-of-war within each of us. The good inclination, aka the Godly soul, urges us to do what’s right; and the bad inclination, or more instinctual soul, tempts us to give into our baser instincts. The Godly soul is sometimes likened to a Still Small Light; and the more instinctual soul, to a raging fire. Ultimately, these seeming opposites will come together, and the fire of the instinctual soul will intensify the light, power, and passion of the Divine soul. 

Perhaps that’s where we are now in our grand journey through time and consciousness. The seemingly endless parade of wars, violence, greed, and corruption along with our insatiable appetite for ever more resources and control – our collective “instinctual soul” – can serve as fuel to ignite our love and reverence for Life. … As the brief carbon pulse dissolves and we feel our way into a new civilization where we understand – with all our heart, soul, and might – we are One.

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  1. “How the carbon pulse brought about a shift to the left”

    In addition to the industrialization of Western societies from 1889 onwards, the introduction of fossil fuels also brought about the large-scale electrification of our living environment. With the introduction of alternating current into every household, the electrical environment in which we live has changed massively.

    The biological effects of the low-frequency alternating fields of the ELF frequency spectrum in particular, which include the domestic power supply (Europe: 50Hz / USA: 60Hz), are still barely discussed.

    These frequencies are in the same frequency spectrum as human brain waves. Wifi and mobile communications are also amplitude-modulated with low-frequency pulses of the ELF spectrum, which means they directly influence our brainwave patterns and nervous systems.

    Above all, however, all these artificial ELF pulses massively disrupt the human pineal gland, which, among other things, also synthesizes the hormone known as the hormone of consciousness, empathy and perception: DMT (dimethyltryptamine).

    Enclosed is an article on this effect, which affects an entire civilization that is completely unaware of it:

    Unity consciousness and pineal gland


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