i went for walk yesterday
and saw a deserted street
while a child walked along a beach in the sun
bars and churches with lights out
jesus in the grave contaminated by death
will he ever wake up?
i went for a walk the other day
and saw the juxtaposition of commerce and life
one sacrificed while the other saved
blue eyes and black bodies dying in the poison rain
will love dance in the field of lilies
will we ever know what to do?
i will go for a walk tomorrow
and see what i saw yesterday and the other day
playgrounds closed to children’s laughter
the white noise of humanity quieted for a season
to love another like ourselves and be our sister’s keeper
embraces distanced by plague but not forgotten
will there be meaning in decency?

Bukowski – Days run away like horses over the hill

I put together this digital story centered around a portion of an interview Charles Bukowski did years ago. He talks about the value of rest, to simply sleep when you need to and not feel guilty or that you “should” be doing something. This digital story is a reflection on how I am feeling during this pandemic and the uncertainty and liminal spaces we find ourselves living in while pondering the ramifications of these times. I wrote a poem for the digital story with the word “apocalypse” in it. I do not mean the word as it is often used or understood in the pop culture of evangelicalism but rather with the sense of an “unveiling.” What is being unveiled before our eyes? What injustices and systemic evils? Times of difficulty throughout history have been an apocalypse of one kind or another for the simple reason of what those times and experiences unveiled. Take a look around and reflect on this unveiling.

humming the soundtrack for the apocalypse
eyes begin to see and ears to hear
a world full of stories 
(crying to be heard)
(begging to be seen)
laments of the voiceless
forgotten ones 
with backs bent to build a forsaken 
“American Dream”

Humanity and AI

Humanity and AI Script

What does it mean to human in an age of artificial intelligence (AI)?[1] What differentiates humans from machines? Fundamentally, the answer is epistemological and hermeneutical. How do we know what we know, and would any machine know in the same way? For example, be able to pass the Turing test?[2] And, how do we interpret what we know? In the age of AI it is vitally important to explore the question of being human. To not do so renders humanity open to manipulation by algorithms or worse susceptible to a surveillance state. And, as technology and AI continue to invade the workplace the concept of labor continues to mutate, and the wealth disparity widens. Just as the industrial revolution brought freedom of human brawn the AI/tech revolution is transforming intellectual and routine tasks away from humans and onto machines.

Capital no longer thought of in terms of labor but data. Our digital dust is practically everywhere as social media is omniscient and handheld machines are ubiquitous. How is our digital fingerprint being used with and without our knowledge when we “the people” are the product? Here again how we know and how we interpret are vital when being bombarded with a plethora of competing ideas from all perspectives. How we distinguish what is a fact or an alternative fact or what is true and what is not. Especially when AI is used in promulgating confusion with social media. 

Nietzsche[3] pronounced that god was dead and we (humanity) had killed him. However dead god may be our human desire for a god has not diminished. The omnipresence of the digital world is the water we live in and epistemological awareness and interpretive shrewdness are uniquely human tools needed to navigate our world. 

It is my intention is to explore the question – what does it mean to be human in the age of AI by fusing the horizons of theology, philosophy, anthropology, photography, hermeneutics and computer science on a singular platform (my blog)[4] to produce a representation of the answers I discover and the new questions they generate.

[1] “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer sciences that emphasizes the development of intelligence machines, thinking and working like humans. For example, speech recognition, problem-solving, learning and planning.”

~ Farhan Saeed, IQVIS Blog https://www.iqvis.com/blog/9-powerful-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-use-today/

[2] “The phrase “The Turing Test” is sometimes used more generally to refer to some kinds of behavioural tests for the presence of mind, or thought, or intelligence in putatively minded entities.”

~ Oppy, Graham and Dowe, David, “The Turing Test”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/turing-test/>.

[3] “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, Tr. Walter Kaufmann

[4] The Face of Humanity,  https://thefaceofhumanity.blog/

Another Day In America

All photos taken in California in March of 2019. Music by Phil Collins.

“O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.“
~ Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again