The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 335, titled:
Artificial Intelligence and Astrology
With Chris Brennan and astrologer Kent Bye
Episode originally released on January 12, 2022
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released January 20, 2022
Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Casual Astrology Podcast. Joining me today is Kent Bye and we’re going to talk about astrology and artificial intelligence as a topic that we’ve got into a little bit yesterday on The Astrology Podcast episode, but not a lot so we’re gonna get into that amongst other things a little bit more today. A little casual, hopefully, a bit shorter than our five-hour conversation yesterday.
KENT BYE: [laughs] Yeah, that was pretty epic and yet there’s still stuff to discuss. AI consciousness, I’m sure we’ll sort of dip into a wide range of different topics. But it’s been a great trip, thanks for having me out here. It’s been a lot of fun. Yeah, it’s fun to kind of do some deep dives in some of these topics. And I think when you look at technology and its relationship to technology and astrology even, it’s been quite an interesting evolution and there’s still more to discuss in terms of the future of where this is all going.
CB: Yeah, let’s talk about that a little bit. This is my first time flying somebody out. I just talked to you about how Rick Levine, we did that interview on Uranus and then the Minor Aspects episode when he was just driving through, and occasionally that’s pretty much how I’ve done it. But yeah, having you out in the studio has been a different experience and it’s allowed us for obviously a longer conversation, to do some stuff in between, and now to record this to sort of have a more casual discussion after the main one. It’s kind of an interesting thing in terms of where to go with the podcast in the future.
KB: Yeah, for me, I think about those concepts of serendipitous collisions that I base a lot of my coverage at conferences and how you reaching out to invite me to come do this and the investment and all the logistics, it creates this ritual space which still happen to kind of align with my own personal transits, all the stuff that’s going on in my life and for me, intuitively it was like, “Okay, I need to come and have these conversations for whatever it means. I don’t know where they’re going to go or who’s going to listen to them or what’s going to come after this, but it feels like I’ve been sort of incubating lots of these different ideas and concepts into these other domains and it’s nice to kind of cross pollinate those other insights back over into astrology, because a lot of my work is just kind of this interdisciplinary fusion of trying to figure out how these things are all connected.
CB: Right. I think you said it early on, it’s kind of like a conference. So you have this little mini astrology conference or at least some of the vibe you get in an astrology conference, and having really deep conversations with somebody in-person about astrology and related things.
KB: Yeah, most of my Esoteric Voices podcast happened in the DoubleTree lobby there in just south of Seattle [unintelliigible 00:02:30] or whatever that city is. But basically, the Northwest Astrological Conference by the Nalbandians has gathered up all these different astrologers and the different types of conversations that would happen in that lobby afterwards is what I kind of thrived upon; speaking the language of astrology but also having conversations of trying to document what people were talking about, but also what the buzz was for what the conversations were happening within the astrological community. It kind of recreates that but rather than having a big lobby with like 100 astrologers, it’s just two astrologers kind of having their own mini conference. [laughs]
CB: Yeah, I’m trying to think of different ways that I can help accentuate that in the future, like just use this as an interesting opportunity to capture some of that. But it’s been a nice experience. So last night we did the Virtual Reality episode, it was like a five-hour recording. I got kind of hyped about doing the little demo aside from the awkward social thrusting me until the middle of a party and making me relive all my worst nightmares from earlier in my life socially. Otherwise, I was impressed by the demo you gave me of your headset. So we went out to a Best Buy and got one last night for me. Which interestingly, it was like the full Moon was going exact and as we walked out of the Best Buy, we saw it culminating just overhead in Gemini right above the store.
KB: Yeah. The Moon started when we started recording right around my Ascendant and by the time it went into that full Moon when we were going out to buy the VR, we were walking into Best Buy looking up the full Moon and it just felt like being in a dialogue with Anima Mundi in a way. Like, the universe kind of reflecting this intensity of going into these ideas about virtual worlds, but then actually buying some of the headset and gear here. So you got the Oculus Quest 2. And yeah, there’s certain ways around motion sickness and even tips and tricks for if you’re moving around. If you’re locomoting around, there could be things for people within VR that make you sick. So there’s things that from a design perspective as well as as you move around in VR, that can help mitigate that, but there can also be a period of accommodation of you just getting used to the proper IPD of how far the lenses apart, you got to get that right and also just getting used to the screen. There might be some time where you may get some headaches or feel a little sick, but hopefully, you’ll find your own tolerance of what the triggers for motion sickness are for you and you’ll either pick experiences or know how to kind of mitigate those by squinting your eyes or closing your eyes or trying to avoid certain things that may be motion sickness triggers. That’s part of the other thing that as you were going to bed, we were kind of dealing with some of that.
CB: Yeah, but it was fun. We got to meet up with [Wanda 00:05:05], your partner and my old friend going ways back and talk to her a little bit was which was really nice because I haven’t seen Wanda in person in years. Probably since one of the last major astrology conferences like UAC, Chicago, in 2018 almost four years ago now. So it was nice to see her and hear her voice, and it was wild seeing her move her hands in VR and her expressiveness was really coming through and really reminding me a little bit more vividly of her as a person and the energy that she gives off when you’re in-person talking to her. It was pretty wild. Even though she was in in pickle form or avatar. [Kent laughs]
KB: Yeah, pickle. I was a banana, she was a pickle, and you were a carrot. So we’re walking around these virtual worlds talking about all sorts of stuff.
CB: Yeah, it was the vegetable gang representing. [Kent laughs] Yeah, that was fun. It was cool and then once we started running around going to different island and stuff to pick out different avatars, I got a little bit of motion sickness so I had to tap out after a little bit. But it was also like a long day. It’s like five hours of podcast recording, which was super intense and we had just eaten a big meal of Indian food right before that. Which evidently I read afterwards, one of the things you’re not supposed to do, eat a big meal before doing your thing.
KB: I think over time there’s ways to kind of help mitigate some of that, like I said. But people have their own tolerances and if you just jump in and start moving around and locomoting through spaces, that can be a trigger. If you’re teleporting, that’s another thing there. I’m excited personally, for you to have a VR and to start to have more casual gatherings and meetups. There is something that– that same thing we were talking about, those hallways conversations within NORWAC where actually Jupiter conjunct Saturn going for a new 200-year cycle. I think that, in combination to what happened with the pandemic and everything, people doing stuff remotely and with the virtual reality coming up, we’re going to start to see perhaps more of those different types of vibes and gatherings where you kind of recreate that lobby in between the threshold spaces that are in between the places that you’re going in to see the lectures that’s setting the overall context, but then you are able to have an invitation to kind of recreate that kind of casual cocktail party, but rather than a bunch of strangers who are interrogating you about the legitimacy of astrology, it’s other astrological peeps who are able to really do a deep dive into whatever is emerging.
CB: Yeah, I’m thinking of two things. One, I had done the Denver astrology group for 10 years in-person meetup and the owner of the Mehak cafe has been pushing me for several months now to restart it, but they’re keeping these COVID waves that will hit and I wasn’t sure if it’s time to pack 30 to 40 astrologers into a small room together breathing on each other for an extended period of time. There’s something appealing to me about the idea of maybe doing a local astrology meeting or doing an episode of the Astrology Podcast that’s in VR that has an audience in VR where you have a quasi-physical component in addition to the discussion that’s taking place between the two of them.
KB: Yeah. What I would say is that what’s interesting, or what’s the challenge is that a lot of times you take the previous communication media and you replicate it. So, like the first radio was like opera, and then the first TV was like radio plays. And so we’re kind of recreating, putting podcasts within virtuality. Which is something that you can do but I think part of the real value is the interactions that you have after the talk. So, maybe people watching it on a stream and then they have the after-party to be able to have the context that’s being set by the conversation. And people can not have to be in VR for an hour or two to listen to it, and then when they are in VR, they’re using all the affordances of VR to be able to actually move around and chat with people and kind of unpack and just decompress all the stuff that was just talked about. Kind of like the same thing of you can do like NORWAC where they have the Zoom conferences, where it’s better to watch it over Zoom because it’s just a better experience to experience the talk. That’s a one-to-many broadcast, and the many-to-many interactions is where VR really shines.
CB: That makes sense. That’s what I said yesterday, I was totally missing from NORWAC and that was the part during the two COVID lockdown versions of NORWAC that were completely online that I was completely absent. And one of the things we did after the first one was we saw that and they did the closing ceremony and they’re just like, “All right, everyone go home.” At a normal NORWAC, everyone would go to the lobby and hang out and talk at the bar for all hours of the night. But it missed that social component and that would have been a perfect time when something like VR would have been excellent for being able to replicate some part of that.
KB: Yeah, the onboarding and making sure you click a button and you get into the right context in the right place with the right people is something that’s still getting worked out. But those are the types of issues of sending out a message that people click on a link and then they put on their headset and they’re there. That’s what we’ll get to eventually. We’re not quite there yet. So there’s still a lot of thrash to how people would find the room. There’s different ways of creating private rooms and public rooms. Like when we were going around a VR chat, we were in some private rooms that I had created. But if we were in public rooms, there could have been other people that kind of joined us. But there’s a way of setting the different privacy levels that you want when you’re going into these different spaces.
CB: Okay, cool. A lot of possibilities, I’ll be interested to continue interacting with you and Wanda once you fly back later today, through VR and just exploring some of the different options and possibilities, more of which I’m sure will become clearer once I get more familiar with it. I’m trying to think of other topics before we get to our main topic of artificial intelligence. Is there anything else that’s come up this weekend that’s been interesting to reflect on as we’re in this more sort of privately casual conversation.
KB: I think as we go into AI, it’ll spread out and other topics like consciousness and the foundations of astrology, and quantum computing, you know, there’ll be a lot of different sort of associated things. But if we focus on both AI as well as the role of technology in astrology, that’ll be a good foundation for us to kind of branch out and talk about other things that are influencing my own thinking on the topics.
CB: Okay. All right. Let’s talk about it. So, artificial intelligence. And we did bring up a little bit of distinction, because I always thought artificial intelligence, that that singularity was being used as a synonym at this point for artificial intelligence. But you seem to think that it’s not necessarily. Those are separate things, or that singularity is potentially more your version, as you explained, it sounds like much more negative than what I’ve heard, which is often sometimes framed in a more idealistic sense.
KB: Well, I think the term that’s probably the best if you wanted to Google and look for more information is artificial general intelligence, meaning that the computing is kind of replicating different aspects of human level of intelligence. So you would be able to interact with virtual beings that have the same type of consciousness that you would expect if you were talking to another person. And there’s a lot of problems within artificial intelligence, like context is a good example. Like, there’s no common sense reasoning with an artificial intelligence because it’s difficult for computers to understand all the relational dynamics that we’ve learned from a lifetime of experiences of growing up in a culture that we understand at a sub-symbolic or unconscious level. So there’s ways in the water we’re swimming in as our worldviews and our culture that is difficult to articulate even to teach artificial intelligence, something like common sense. There’s things that we know from a common sense because of our embodied experiences over a lifetime. But it’s a challenge of trying to take all those things that are common sense for us and the translate that into some type of computing. There’s machine learning approaches that are just trying to create those different relational dynamics specifically and say, like being able to identify images or identify language, those are some examples. But all those things are going to be coming together into what is eventually what you would see in modern depictions of AI in like, say Westworld, where you’re talking to characters within the context of a story that you’re able to kind of interact with and have intelligent conversations. Then there’s Nick Bostrom who talks about these concepts of super intelligence, meaning that like, you’re able to match the humans but eventually transcend what humans can do into this more exponentially increasing amount of intelligence that is a god-like omniscient type of intelligence. And what are what are the implications of creating that type of super intelligence if it’s even possible, that then how do humans control something that they can’t even fully understand? That’s some of the dilemmas that when you talk about the singularity that start to get into that point we’ve crossed into this super intelligent realm of artificial intelligence that is more speculative at this point where when you actually talk to a lot of artificial intelligence researchers, there’s ways in which there’s a disconnect between the philosophical ideas and the pragmatic on the ground perspectives of people making it. Because people making it just tend to be a lot more sceptical about these claims of super intelligence and those claims of you know, the potential because they see a lot more of the limitations of AI. So there’s a split between the popular discussions and what we see in the media, and this mainstream depictions of AI which is much more dystopic vision of AI overlords taking over and killing us all; the Terminator. Whereas in like a Japanese culture, there’s different types of mythologies and cultures that what’s more in a relationship where AI is more of this kind of assistant that’s serving humanity. And we haven’t seen as many stories about that so our mind tends to go into that more dystopic overlord type of mindset. And also from me talking to a lot of AI researchers, they just kind of dismiss a lot of those grand claims of super intelligence that are just kind of like hyperbolic and not really grounded into not only where AI is right now, but also the limits technologically of where AI could go.
CB: Yeah, we’re still ways off. I forgot to mention the ground this conversation part of why we’re having it is one of your other podcasts you do Voices of Virtual Reality, but you also do a podcast which is Voices of AI, right. Is that at one point, or is that still ongoing?
KB: It was. It’s currently offline but I did probably record somewhere between 200 and 300 interviews and then published five, but because I had the Voices of VR podcast where I’ve recorded around 1600 interviews and I’ve published over 1000, it was sort of like I was one of the leading podcasts in VR and I was worried that if I wanted to try to do that same scale or pace within AI, I was going to sort of diffuse my attention to the point where I was going to not do as good a job on either. So I kind of focused on VR for a long time and then started other podcasts around mathematics and philosophy and decentralised web technologies, as well as some stuff about artificial intelligence. And all the other podcasts we talked about a little bit yesterday around sort of more astrological, more esoteric aspects. So there’s connections between all of those but the Voices of AI, I was able to go to some AI conferences and talk to AI researchers, which has kind of informed my own orientation and perspective of not only what the potentials are, but also more of the limits and constraints. Because a lot of times you see a lot of hyperbolic claims about what type of things you could do with AI, which I am sceptical of but also realising that it’s not really understanding the limits of consciousness or the limits of what technology can do in general.
CB: Yeah, that’s wild that you’re just walking up to strangers at conferences. I’m used to it now at astrology conferences with you because it’s become normalised that I’ve forgot probably what that was like both for you initially at the time, but also what it would have been like for people like me that didn’t know you or something and it was just like a stranger trying to interview you. But that’s interesting to get in a completely foreign context of like an AI conference where you have all these people working super high levels of some of these problems and technology, and you’re just walking up to people and asking to interview them.
KB: Yeah, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence had 1000s of different AI researchers from around the world and what I realised was that I was coming up with the limits and understanding the underlying mathematical underpinnings of AI. So then actually the most difficult thing I’ve ever done was to go to mathematical conferences, the joint mathematics meetings, and just walk up to, you know, there are like 3000 different types of mathematicians and to just walk up to a random mathematician and to ask them about what branch of math they are working on, without knowing anything about that branch of math. And so it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done because it’s like trying to understand the underlying language. I started through philosophy, you know, understanding the philosophy of math and starting there, and then gaining people’s sort of philosophical orientations with mathematics. And then from there, understanding enough about what they were talking about to sort of have them explain the different branches of math. It was from that I stumbled upon aspects of mathematics, like category theory, which is actually much more of like an archetypal approach to mathematics that has been producing a lot of really interesting effects. It’s an algebra of relations that is trying to move away from more of a set theoretic approach. But what they’re finding is that there’s an explanatory power that is able to do these weird translations from one branch of math to another branch of math, and almost like they’ve been able to tap into the underlying archetypal potentials of mathematics itself. Which is quite an interesting to see how the foundations of math may be moving more towards a category theoretic approach, which has elements of connections to archetypal cosmology is that, you know, are connected to astrology in a way that most mathematicians are not necessarily thinking about or talking about. But because I’m going between all these different realms, there’s ways that I’m taking those dramatic esoteric insights and seeing how there’s connections, whether it’s an AI, virtual reality, or artificial intelligence.
CB: I’m thinking about your chart and you have Gemini rising. It’s got to be that that Mercury-Mars conjunction that just gives you the ability to do that, to sort of thrust yourself into a situation like that of creating a one-on-one dynamic with a stranger and having the courage to do that in some sense, but also the inquisitiveness and to ask the right questions and things like that.
KB: That’s certainly a big part of it. And I think also probably a bigger part is maybe this Moon conjunct my Neptune, which I think gives me sort of like, I get these-
CB: What’s your birth date again?
KB: September 1st 12:05am.
KB: Yeah, 1976 in Portland, Oregon. Oh no, sorry. Indianapolis in Indiana.
CB: Okay, go ahead with what you were saying.
KB: Yeah. I’ve had experiences- I haven’t talked about this much publicly, but I would get sort of an intuitive insight for who I should talk to you next. I would be at NORWAC and I’d be like, “You need to talk to Steven Forrest next.” And I would turn around and then walk, and I’d know where to go and I’d run into Steven Forrest.
KB: So there’s a certain amount of my process of being embedded within a certain context where I sort of have this really deeply intuitive state, where I get into an altered state of consciousness where I focus and meditate on a question that I want to have answered. And it’s almost like a create an intentional field that I run into somebody who has the answer. I’ve sort of been able to prove that across all these different domains, probably the hardest domain I’ve ever done that is at these math conferences that are like, being able to like run into people and have the language to be able to understand what they’re saying, but also to have the intention to be able to get the knowledge that I want from them. I would go to AI conferences and other conferences and I would have conversations with people and they would think that I was like a PhD in AI or something. It’s not that I have that, I don’t know all the foundations but what I am able to do is understand the language and the larger concepts to be able to have a conversation to ask the questions that are deeply probing about the philosophical foundations. I think that’s where my grounding and philosophy helps me to have a philosophical orientation and then be able to jump in between these different contextual domains to be able to have conversations about a broad range of different topics.
CB: That makes sense. Yeah, that’s really interesting, you bringing up just the Neptune part with the Moon. Neptune conjunction, that’s squaring your sun at eight Virgo. And then Mercury, it’s not just Mercury-Mars conjunction, but also it’s conjunct Pluto and Mercury is actually exchanging signs with Venus so there’s like a sort of mutual reception there. Oh, yeah. That Jupiter Trine. Jupiter in Gemini is trining that Mercury pretty closely, which is pretty helpful and supportive as well.
KB: And Saturn is trining Neptune in the Moon as well. And it’s sextiling where Pluto is kind of the midpoint between my Saturn and my Moon Neptune. So it’s sort of like, I don’t know, I feel like I get into these deeply intuitive states. A lot of times I’ll have the experience of knowing what question to ask before and sometimes I sort of tune into where the conversation is going to go. It’s one of those things where I can’t empirically prove any of this stuff. It’s more of like maybe when people look back on my body of work, there’s something about what I’ve been able to do across all these different conversations that maybe we’ll be able to see that there was something that was different. Like your approach of being in the Chronos time of kind of planning everything out, whereas I sort of fully embrace that Kairos being in the quality of that moment, and then trying to, almost as I walk around, take it as if anything that I’m seeing is like an omen that’s trying to tell me something deeper about where to go next or what to see. And then just listening to my body to keep hydrated. It’s very sort of intuitive process. But with that Mars-Mercury, I think I’m able to ask the questions and kind of learn on the fly on a lot of ways.
CB: Are you thinking about going to either the astrology conferences this year?
KB: We’ll see what happens with Omicron. I may go back to NORWAC. But I think I may also focus on just trying to publish a lot of these– up to this point– unpublished podcast conversations, and getting those out. I’d say that with virtual reality, I was in the golden era of those conferences that was happening from like 2014 to 2019 and so it’s kind of up in the air, you know, depending on what the reaction is. If they ever get support for the astrological community for relaunching a lot of these– up to this point– unpublished or history interviews for last decade, and start to get those out… If I’m able to build up an audience then I might make a return to the the lobby of NORWAC.
CB: Yeah, that’d be nice. It’d be good to see you running around there again. All right, so back to AI. AI is still at a very early stage. I mean, one thing you mentioned to me in private that we didn’t mention publicly was, if you were to study the astrology of AI and the important turning points, then you’d probably want to look at certain alignments like when Kasparov the chess grandmaster was beaten by an artificial intelligence in the mid ’90s, or the more recent one was when somebody was beat playing that game Go, right?
KB: Yeah, AlphaGo in Google. It started back in 1956, there was a conference at Dartmouth College. It was a bunch of AI researchers and at that point, what was happening was the Uranus square Pluto, I believe, in the ’50s. And I think there might have also been some connection between Saturn and Neptune. When I was doing a lot of conversations at AI conferences, there was a Saturn-Neptune in the sky that I was maybe tuning into. There was a lot of hype that was going through. I haven’t extensively studied the waves of AI. They talk about, within the AI community, there’s like the AI winter where things go dark for a long time and then there’s the AI spring and summer where it starts to really explode. So I was hitting a time that was like the AI summer. I think now we may be moving into like there’s a monotonic growth that’s happening with an AI where there’s consistent progress. But sometimes you have these big breakthroughs that just, you know, suddenly AI is everywhere and you can talk to your phone, and there’s natural language processing.
CB: That’s been blowing me away honestly, like how good the voice recognition technology is just on my Android smartphone in the past few years where– because I remember I was struggling with issues with carpal tunnel syndrome in 2005, and I bought what was the best programme at the time, which was like a Dragon speakeasy programme and it was just terrible in terms of recognising and being able to process and get the right words. But now, something that you carry on in your pocket in your smartphone can pretty reliably capture your voice and recognise what you’re saying pretty well.
KB: Yeah, there’s a lot of machine learning which is based upon taking a bunch of data, and then basically running it through these processes that are able to discern what the neural network architecture is going to be to be able to recreate that thing that happens within our brain. It’s sort of a proxy of how we process information through these layers of neural networks that are able to make sense of information. It’s kind of moving from where programming was more linear and then more feeding it a bunch of data. And it’s more qualitatively understanding what those relationships are to do things like computer vision, which is difficult for computers traditionally, if you were to just write a heuristic algorithm to do that. What you need to do is take a whole bunch of data and then train these neural networks that are able to make those decisions. It’s kind of a pivot from those different architectures, which actually came up in the 90s or so but the difference was the GPU. So, being able to do parallel processing of all that training information through these processing units that originally came from video gaming, and video was launched in like 1999 or so. It’s from an aggregation of all these other associated technologies that as they all come together, then it makes new possibilities. But the challenge though, with AlphaGo as an example, is you’re able to do a whole bunch of training of all the different types of possibilities. But with something like Go, the types of overall possibilities start to exponentially increase to the point where it’d be unfeasible to understand every single possible move at any given moment. There’s not enough computing power to be able to do that. And so what they had to do is kind of have a top down hierarchical heuristic that was able to organise things, and then from there have the bottom up machine learning approaches. It’s actually kind of a top-down bottom-up approach that they did with AlphaGo that has able to achieve that. An example that was given to me by an AI researcher would be like you could, as a human being, go and read a Wikipedia page for what a bird looks like. Then you can go out and see that bird and you can immediately identify that it was that bird based upon just reading the description. For AI to do that is very difficult, because how do you translate that knowledge of what this is, and then translate that into the more top-down language to understand it, and then train the perception to be able to understand how to perceive it? Right now the perception has to have like, it has to see a million pictures of that bird to know it’s that bird, rather than just give a description of it in order to do that. So there’s something about this path towards artificial general intelligence that has something about more of those platonic forms of understanding what the structures of reality are, and in how to basically make that translation into the more bottom up approach that we have. As humans, we do that naturally; of having embodied experiences and we have the language to be able to describe that. And we constantly iterate that within the cultural context of growing up and living in a society that everybody around us is helping us to do that. So are there going to be ways to help train AI to do that as we move forward?
CB: That’s really interesting, the ability of humans maybe to see the archetype underlying something, and computers needing to learn that somehow or if that’s possible.
KB: There’s some ways that they’re able to understand the relational dynamics after seeing millions of accounts, but what they can’t do is start from the archetypal principle and do that translation. And I think that’s part of this path towards artificial general intelligence is understanding how to do that computationally. I think there may be this dimension of human consciousness itself that actually is, you know, most people who are neuroscientists are in this mindset of seeing consciousness as a epiphenomena of the brain, you know? Kind of reductive materialistically, like our phenomenal thoughts are just a response to these brain firings that are then somehow being constructed into our phenomenal experience. But this is where David Chalmers talks about the hard problem of consciousness of how do you go from these inner bits of matter into what feels like a narrative experience that’s all flowing together in a way that all makes sense? And so the limited materialists say, “Well, consciousness is just an illusion. It’s not actually there. We’re being fooled into believing that we have a phenomenal experience, which kind of denies our direct experiences. And so there’s other approaches like pan psychism or pan experientialism, or even thinking just in terms of that, there’s a layer of consciousness that’s fundamental. So there’s consciousness that is in this non-spatial temporal realm that somehow is being collapsed into metrical spacetime into these, you know, from a general relativistic perspective a pseudo Armenian structure of 4D space time, but underneath that 4D space time is like this infinite dimension. Hilbert space are these non local fields that go beyond space time. So you look at like ways of non local interactions at the quantum realm that kind of violate– that’s what Einstein called this spooky action at a distance where there was things that were happening faster than the speed of light that was happening, because you’re able to entangle particles that are communicating and are connected and correlated to each other at a distance that would go faster than the speed of light.
KB: Which creates these sort of anomalies of the non-local quantum entanglement that goes against that local realism of saying that all of reality is this naturalistic world that’s all just spacetime. But what a lot of the quantum realm is saying that there’s these realms beyond space time, and those non local realms. And that’s where process philosophy and these other interpretations of quantum mechanics, there’s not an established universal explanation for a lot of these problems of quantum mechanics that everybody agrees upon, which means that there’s a whole wide range of different interpretations. But some of the ones that are more processed relational are giving reality to those archetypal potentials. Those relational realism or with Kastner’s Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Rovelli also have some relational dynamics. What that means is that there’s these underlying potentials of archetypes that Whitehead calls these eternal forms or the platonic forms, or from an archetypal approach, these are all the archetypal dynamics that are happening at this lower level that’s beyond space time. And then at some point, that the universe is being constructed moment to moment in what Whitehead calls this moments of concrescence, there is somehow translating from that non-Boolean logic of these realms of archetypal potentials into the more Boolean logic of true/false, and more binaries of something that kind of collapses into the actual realities. It’s almost like the archetypal potentials of these multifaceted diamonds, and then somehow when it happens, only one of those potentials are actualized. So the difference between the potential and the actual is something that is a debate within the quantum ontology, but also in general substance, metaphysics denies those potentials. They say they’re basically an artefact of a quantum phenomena that is decohering and basically you ignore it. Their reaction to those dimensions of potential is to just ignore that they’re not there. But there could be elements of both consciousness and as we move forward, the ways in which that even understanding how astrology works from that process, relational approach that gives a more of a mechanistic explanation for what may be happening at these lower levels. This gets into the discussions when you talk about consciousness and talk about AI and the limits of what, you know, is AI going to be able to do some of these things that maybe human beings have in their consciousness that they’re swimming in these archetypal potentials and we just are able to somehow understand the language in a way that we just learned language really fast, because it’s something about the human brain that when we’re in the context and hearing it, then we’re able to acquire all that language in a way that it goes above and beyond what they’re able to replicate and the artificial intelligence technologies.
CB: Maybe, I don’t know. I mean, it even takes humans a while to learn language as babies. You start very basic and then you build up over the years, and it gets more complicated and stuff. I don’t know, I go back and forth because it could stick going either way in terms of that being something that you hit a wall at some point with artificial intelligence where you can’t go further or you don’t, and eventually it’s just a problem that’s overcome. And then it’s able to progress to and replicate the same process that humans do at some point. But going back to that, in terms of defining what even artificial intelligence is and what would qualify for it was the Turing test, right?
KB: Well, there was a Turing test, but the Turing test is a little outdated because of all the advances.
CB: Okay. Would you explain what it was originally?
KB: Yeah. The Turing test was that you would sit down at a computer and then you have either a human on the other side chatting with you, or you’d have a bot that was chatting with you. And you had to determine whether or not you were talking to a real human or you were really talking to artificial intelligence that was tricking you into believing that they were human. So the Turing test was for this kind of chatbot interactions to allow you to see whether or not AI was able to basically replicate human interactions.
CB: Yeah, which is fair enough and that was introduced by Alan Turing in the 1940s or 50s?
KB: I think so, I don’t know the exact day. It’s been a number of years since I’ve really dove into the AI stuff and so-
CB: I think we have his birth time. I don’t know if I have it in this database.
KB: Yeah. What I would say is that when I was going to AI conferences, AI Magazine in 2016 actually had released a whole magazine that was talking about the Turing test for the 2050. They were projecting out and saying by 2050 what are the different types of things that we would expect AI to be able to do that it can’t do now, to be able to set this bar to say if it’s able to achieve that then we’re on this path towards more of this artificial general intelligence ideas. There’s a set of different types of tests that are the kind of the next generation Turing tests that go above and beyond the Turing test right now, because with GPT3 it’s able to basically create a language model from open AI and other folks that do a pretty good job of replicating different aspects of the Turing test where you would talk to it, but it’s like basically scraping all different aspects of the internet and training a language model on top of that. And it’s basically replicating the cultural aggregate of what you would expect someone to say based upon something, but it’s not actually have a deliberate intention or character or personality behind it. It’s just a regurgitation of an aggregate sociological condensation of a lot of cultural thought, based upon scraping millions of different websites.
CB: Yeah, so that’s the problem with the Turing test. It’s that you could legitimately at this point probably even trick somebody into thinking that they’re talking with a human. The AI could get that good at least in terms of conversational stuff, but behind it it doesn’t still necessarily have consciousness or choice or other things like that so that it’s still not in terms of AI actually replicating human consciousness, it’s just one step in terms of being able to almost fool a human into having the presentation of that.
KB: Yeah, there’s two angles to that issue. The first angle is just as you were saying, engaging with what it would feel like to talk to another human. Where it’s stirring a lot of this stuff is within the context of the story worlds. You’d be in the context of a story and interacting with a non-player character of virtual being, and in the context of the story you’re able to basically do the different types of interactions that would be impossible if it was just a general context, you know, the artificial general intelligence. So in the context of a game world or a story world– think as an example of Westworld where you go into that town, you’re able to have conversations, they’re able to understand enough about that world and kind of code that into those virtual beings to the point where they’re able to kind of trick you even more into believing that the AI virtual being is more intelligent than it actually is. But they’re able to kind of shortcut a lot of those contextual domains because they’re controlling that within the context of a game or story. So a lot of the development within these virtual beings are happening in the context of the story worlds. But if you talk about generalised intelligence, if you just throw AI out into the world because it doesn’t identify context or common sense reasoning, it’s a lot difficult, more difficult to do those different types of things that a human would be able to do. They’re able to kind of shortcut a lot of stuff by looking at it in the context of games and stories.
CB: Gotcha. Here’s it, I found it. We do have a birth time for him and interestingly, it’s another Gemini Rising like yourself. So, Alan Turing. It’s June 23rd, 1912 2:15am in London. Five Gemini rising, ruler of the Ascendant is Mercury which is in Cancer in the second house conjunct the Sun and copresent with Neptune. It’s got a Venus Pluto conjunction in the first house, and Jupiter on the descendant in Sagittarius in the seventh, and Uranus smack dab on the midheaven in Aquarius at two degrees. And yeah, Mars and Leo, Moon and Libra, and Saturn in Taurus. Wikipedia says that the Turing test he came up with it in 1950. So in terms of 1950s where the technology was then, yeah, being tricked into having conversation with a computer would be really impressive. But now, we’re at the point where it’s not a sufficient litmus test. So what are some of the other tests that have been suggested at the point at which AI is getting there?
KB: I think one of them is Winograd Schema, which was trying to understand contextual puns. As you speak, you understand as humans what things mean but some things are just difficult for AI to understand. So there’s language things that I think generally, like common sense reasoning is another thing where there’s contextual things that we just know because of our embodied experiences, but are harder for AI to figure out.
CB: I run into that all the time on Twitter where there’s so many different people that follow me from around the world at this point that sometimes I’ll make jokes on Twitter or something or use a turn of phrase or something, but there’ll be people from other languages that don’t understand the subtle nuances of some in-joke in English and won’t get it. I could see that as being an issue you would run into with AI for similar reasons.
KB: Yeah. There’s other other topics like Zero-shot learning like I said, you give a language description and then it’s able to do some sort of computer-vision task and so bridging those different things. Kind of as a metaphor of the left brain and right brain, how the left brain is the language centre that makes these conceptual frameworks of understanding our experience, and then the right brain is more of the differentiated realm of different embodied experiences. I feel like there’s different ways of manipulative intelligence, social intelligence, emotional intelligence that kind of match over some of the elemental framework. I found that models of talking about intelligence such as emotional intelligence, as an example, or manipulative intelligence would be kind of the agency aspect or just the conceptual intelligence and also the embodied intelligence is a lot about robots. So one of the things is like, “Will robots be able to play soccer in 2050 in a way that is matching the same level of skill and competition that humans have? Will we be seeing soccer playing-”
CB: -Probably. Honestly, like some of the Boston Dynamics robots are advancing super fast.
KB: Well, the robots with themselves. But then there’s other things of the multi-party dimensions of coordinating between multiple robots working with each other, but also the defence. There’s offence and defence. So, robots playing soccer ends up being a lot of really juicy AI problems of multi-party coordination but also sensing the realm, but also just the robot technology in general of having humanoid robots running around kicking a soccer ball and playing against each other in a competition. So yeah, they’ve been doing things as you’ve been watching it progress from doing parkour and gymnastics types of things. It starts to get to the point where there’s dogs which had a whole Black Mirror episode of robot dogs going around as security dogs and killing people. Some of that stuff, I think, we get into the same kind of Terminator mindset of having these AI overlord robots that once they’re embodied, then it’s different than having interactions with AI within the context of a virtual world, which actually is kind of like potentially going to be a neutral place to be able to engage with AI in a way that may be safer physical reality. So you know, engaging with these AI entities within the context of virtual worlds means that they can’t sort of do physical harm to us like if they were in body within robot as an example.
CB: Yeah. Sort of starting to think about things upto that point, we’re getting far into the future about some of the inevitabilities like robots playing soccer and some of those things like that. One of the things I’ve thought 10 years ago that’ll come up at some point in the future is once AI progress to a certain point, one of the interesting social problems that I know is going to happen at some time in our future of humanity is going to be a social issue of humans having relationships with AI; romantic relationships and the inappropriateness of that from a societal standpoint, because some of the same arguments about whether it’s quote-unquote “natural or unnatural” that sometimes people try to argue about recently when it comes to the shifts in society with same sex relationships over the past century, or something like that will probably come up again in that context. It’s something I thought about or you can anticipate coming up at some point in the future.
KB: Yeah, the movie Her really dives into a lot of that as a story to kind of talk about that. And there’s an art piece that was showing at Sundance I think in 2019 or 2020 called Jester’s Tale by Asad J. Malik. The experience was kind of a Turing test of the next generation where, you know, when you interact on the internet you have to fill out all these CAPTCHAs to prove that you’re not a robot. So, how would that evolve over time? And so this was an augmented reality experience that was having you interact with this. It was a pre-recorded hologram of a volumetric boy and it was kind of giving you this narrative, and the Turing test was to see how you were reacting as a human as to what type of reactions you may have as you’re interacting with these holograms. But at the end of the piece, what they did was they actually had a child actor– they opened up a door and there was a child actor in a cage. And the provocation was, “Okay, in the context of passing this Turing test, are you going to kill yourself or you’re going to kill this little boy that’s here?” So it’s almost like the point that Asad was trying to make was that with AI as we move forward, we’re gonna have these virtual beings that are kind of hacking into the millions of years or hundreds of thousands of years of evolution of how we deal with social dynamics. When you start to embody these virtual beings, then they can start to hack those affordances of how we treat other humans as just part of being a kind human, but you can start to manipulate people through having them do things that would be against their best interest. In this case, it was having you kill yourself instead of killing this boy. That was a real boy child actor but it was metaphorically representing this AI being that, you know, you had to make this moral choice in that moment. I chose to kill myself rather than the boy and then as I was thinking about, it’s like, “Oh, that’s like an interesting provocation that even I in that in the context of that story world in that moment of making that choice, chose to sacrifice myself rather than– of course, I’m not going to actually die. But the point was that you can make choices that are against your interests when you have virtual beings that are trying to manipulate and control you in different ways.
CB: Okay. Let’s see. So bringing it back to astrology, one of the problems is going to be consciousness and what is consciousness? And can consciousness that we experience as humans be replicated in machines or in programmes? And if so, how? And what is the model going to be of that? One of the interesting things that was happening at one point at Project Hindsight was there was this secret project where part of the premise was that astrology could be a model for consciousness that could be useful in developing AI, basically. I forget what they called it and that’s defunct at this point, which is the only reason I’m okay mentioning it, but I always thought that was an interesting thing or could be interesting direction to take things because that’s going to be one of the fundamental issues that they’re wrestling with over the next few decades is like how to create consciousness or how to replicate consciousness in machines. But that’s an interesting question of could astrology be used? Is it already there? Like, do we already have a model of consciousness that’s like 2000 years old at this point that could somehow be used in a way that’s useful for replicating it artificially?
KB: Yeah, there’s three big topics that that sort of taps into. One is the philosophy of mind and consciousness itself and how to describe it and those discussions, then there’s the realms of potential and the limits of technology of understanding how to deal with potential, which we talked about yesterday with the archetypal predictions versus concrete predictions. And then the third aspect is the realms in which that you’re able to use a whole wide range of existing psychographic profiling of taking a whole wide range of different information. But the whole challenge is telling the story of what that information means in terms of a reflection of your character. So one of the things that astrology does do is give almost a mathematical description of a higher order story for the unfolding of your life, where you’re at right now and where you’re going in the future. And part of the challenge of modelling mathematically, you know, humans are not mathematical entities that can be modelled deterministically. There’s they’re always going to be things that go above and beyond.
CB: That’s the question though, isn’t it? Because that’s actually something I’ve found really fascinating as I feel like in a lot of mainstream philosophy, I guess it’s in more of the physics or philosophy of physics side, it seems like there’s a shift towards determinism in some of the high level of physicists at this point.
KB: Well, that’s because they are into substance metaphysics that they believe that all space time is a 4D manifold that has already happened. You know, Einstein led to this block model of the universe where time is transformed into a spatial dimension of 4D. So space time is one metric where space and time are connected and if you go down that route of looking at a general relativistic mathematical model, you will say that all space and time has already happened in that we’re just these deterministic beings that are unfolding in these habits that we don’t actually have any intentional actions-
CB: Which ultimately almost takes you back to stoicism in some way where the premise was just like everything has a cause and whatever happens has a cause preceding it. And if you take the full chain of causality all the way back to the beginning, it all goes back to one singular cause, and then everything else that comes after that must be predetermined already as a result of that chain of causation, which is part of what they called fate. Anyway, in terms of modern version of stoicism, that goes back to something pretty ancient.
KB: Yeah. What I would say is that I do believe that there’s probably some weird combination of fate and free will that we don’t fully understand, so that there are these math structures that are somehow collapsing into something that are bounded with what [Tonnies] would say archetypically predictive but not concretely predictive. So there’s a range of potentials but we don’t know how that potential is going to be actualized into the specifics. That’s why I think if you look at the the discussions within physics, there’s currently no way to meld the mathematical structure of general relativity with mathematical structures or quantum realities.
CB: So you’re saying that’s true, though? Is my perception true that there’s a tend towards determinism in modern philosophy of physics at this time?
KB: Well, it depends on what philosophy of physics you’re talking about. If you’re talking about quantum ontology, then no. If you’re talking about general activity- But most of the philosophy folks who are looking at physics are not that way. They may have practitioners of physics that are, but they may be in the realm of kind of discounting different aspects of how to match what they’re doing at the large scale with the small scale. So right now, physics has not matched the small with the large. The quantum realms are different math structure than the general relativity, and what they suspect is that the metrical space time is emergent out of that quantum potentia. So the infinite dimension, Hilbert space or whatever mass structure, is going to be larger of what Timothy Eastman has referenced Hans Primus who has identified it as a set of non-Boolean logics. So there’s these realms of potential that then somehow out of that, collapse into metrical space time. And that’s what quantum loop gravity and other systems that are trying to understand the structures of reality, in order to get the metric space time you have to start with the quantum realities. And the quantum realities then somehow get translated and you have kind of like a non-Boolean logic that can be projected into a Boolean logic. Metaphorically that’s within the quantum measurement problem, it’s the quantum wave function that has all these realms of potential but there’s a question as to whether or not that wavefunction is collapsing, and how it’s collapsing and why it’s collapsing. Or if it is even collapsing. The people that are kind of in the realm of seeing all these deterministics, they’re probably a fan of the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics which says that every potential possibility is actualized in a parallel reality that we can’t see. So imagine if you’re going through a Saturn transit, just as an example to just bring it back to astrology, and you can imagine that you’ve experienced every single possible dimension of that Saturn transit in a parallel reality. And the one you’re experiencing now just happens to be the one that you’ve forked off of your consciousness that you’re aware of.
CB: Right, there’s many different dimensions and there’s like a version where you made one choice and there’s a version where you made the other choice, and all of those are existing sort of simultaneously?
KB: Simultaneously. But you have no way of interfacing those. Maybe there’s sort of like the different ways in which maybe those realities are bleeding over with each other, which you know, is more speculative. But that’s a version of reality where every single possibility is actualized. And that’s the Everett’s many world interpretation of quantum mechanics. But that is not more of a process of relational approach or Whitehead’s approach. What Whitehead says is that there is a realm of potential and that there’s an actuality and that there’s this phase of manifestation that goes through prehension. And eventually, this can crescent to the point where there’s almost all those contrasting waves come up and when they combine together almost like sort of the metaphor of those harmonic frequencies as you were talking about with Rick Levine, that enter those different planetary aspects that when those combined together, then somehow they manifest into something that becomes from the possible to the actual. That’s where the relational quantum mechanics as well as the Ruth Kastner’s Transactional Quantum Mechanics puts ontological reality to those quantum potentials, where most of the modern physics denies those potentials as not being real because it just gets actualized into these parallel dimensions that we can’t see. Either way, there’s a metaphysical assumption you have to make and the people who are kind of more on the realm of metaphysics or the substance of metaphysics like that as Everett, because that allows them to kind of deny the reality of potential. And most of the astrological tradition is all about exploring potentials, and so because of the substance metaphysics, astrology doesn’t make sense within the metaphysical assumption of substance metaphysics. It makes a lot more sense if you make the assumption of process relational metaphysics, meaning that the underlying building blocks of all of reality, you can use either processes or relationships to be able to describe everything else out of reality.
CB: Yeah. Going back, there’s a sort of determinism built into and that is inherent in astrology that is greater than both should happen if you don’t know that astrology exists and that the fundamental premise of Astrology– I’ve always said– is that there’s a correlation between celestial movements and earthly events. But the premise of Natal astrology does imply there’s some level of determinism in our lives in that the alignment of the planets the moment of your birth should not be able to say anything about the nature and course of your life or who you are or what you do as an adult. And yet it does for some reason and therefore it must have some inherent predictive power or predictive capability. I’m okay with that being archetypal to a certain extent, but that’s in saying that it’s archetypally predictive. But it might go further even than Tarnis is sometimes willing to go, because he’s limiting and reducing the timing techniques that he’s using or open to, to a certain extent, to only the most general ones. When you start looking at all the timing techniques that are actually available to astrologers and the types of different things that they can do, it does seem like it starts narrowing down things a little bit more in terms of how much more deterministic things might be from an astrological standpoint than you might otherwise think.
KB: It’s a good question, a good point of just even those timing techniques. I’ve thought a lot about, you know, what is the metaphysical rationale for why this work and what’s going on there. And what I’ve come to believe is I go back to like Aristotle had the four causes. Two of the causes are used in sort of modern cosmology and two have been ignored for many hundreds of years. So the ones that are used existing for substance metaphysics orientations is material causality and efficient causality. Material causality is like when you’re kind of banging physical stuff against each other and it’s bouncing and interacting, and there’s efficient causes. Like, I am the actor that is causing something to happen. So when we talk about causation, it’s usually in the existing cosmology, that sort of reductive materialism or physicalism or naturalism. It’s like, there are some sort of things you can point to that are causing one thing there or next. But with the modern turn towards complexity sciences, sometimes there’s these processes there like feedback loops where things are almost like these cellular automatas in mathematical metaphor that you set out some simple rules and as you play it out, then things just unfold in a way that gives a level of complexity that it seems like there’s something that is causing it, but it’s really just a set of simple rules are kind of interacting with each other. But to get back to the other two causes that Aristotle laid out, he laid out the final causation and then the formal causation. The final causation is the purpose or the intent, and it’s also referred as the teleological impulse. So there’s something that’s pulling something towards a specific end goal.
CB: The telos.
KB: The telos, yeah. I feel that the natal chart embedded into it has some sort of degree of final causation.
CB: Right. And in astrology, some of the astrologers like Ptolemy’s text was titled Apotelesmatic, the study of outcomes or the study of ends, and that was one of the words for astrology which is apotelesma which means the end or the result of something and it uses that root word of telos.
KB: Yeah, that’s perfect. And I think that there’s so many aspects of the Natal chart being the ground context for all these other processes. You always go back to the natal chart as the underlying context. Then there’s other things that Whitehead talks about; these sort of nested sets of context or Mariology of these holes and parts. And so astrology itself is the mass structure of process or these structures and so in astrology, you look at the natal chart as the underlying context and then you may look at zodiacal releasing as these longer perfections for years, but then there’s other techniques-
CB: Like planetary periods, there’s decennials, there’s fedarias… [00:27:43]
KB: Fedaria. Fedaria has these longer, and so you can sort of go through understanding what to look at in terms of the hierarchy of things that are influencing someone. You look at the natal chart and then maybe the progressions and transits, and depending on what your own ordering is, it’s going to dictate how you make astrological delineations. But that’s where I think it gets into the formal causation, which is those math structures. And somehow those math structures of planetary periods are somehow tied between the structure at which, you know, Aristotle when he talked about time, he talked about things relative to each other. It’s like the number. Number is representing change over time. So, in a metaphor it’s how the planets are changing relative to each other. So the diurnal rotation gives us the day, a full rotation gives us a year, and then the Moon gives us the month. And so as you look at those relative changes between those, then you can start to see. You know, the planetary period for Venus, there’s eight revolutions of the Sun for every 13 revolutions of Venus. And so it’s a way of matching how those relative time is moving to each other but yet at the same time it’s also moving through the zodiac. So the zodiac but also the spatial movement through space creates a ratio of of 8:13, which creates these five retrograde cycles. But because of that, as you know, Venus is in retrograde moving into this cycle right now, there’s something about the structure of that to be able to correlate the movement of things through space time and through the zodiac that is able to correlate the the Chronos time of things moving through a period that can be measured, and the Kairos which is the quality of it, which represents the things that you get from the archetypal dynamics from the zodiac. So there’s something about the planetary periods that are able to kind of bridge the gap between the Chronos and the Kairos time in a way that melds those two things together. And so when I’ve really tried to figure out what is it about those planetary periods that make it so special, it’s because it’s moving through space time but it’s also moving through a symbolic sort of space of the zodiac that has these representation of the archetypal potentials. But I think there’s still a question around whether or not we’ll ever get to the point to be able to collapse the realms of potentials into the actuals in a concrete way.
CB: Yeah. Because I sometimes think about that in terms of how to sit down in a consultation and do a delineation, and one of the models I came up with was when you’re sitting with somebody to explain the archetype, but you can’t really ever explain the archetype fully of let’s say a placement or culmination that you’re looking at. So what you can do is you can explain three different versions. You can attempt to explain the higher-level archetype as best you can using general language, but then you can explain a positive manifestation of that, a challenging or negative manifestation of that, and then something in between that’s in between or neutral as a way to attempt to describe the archetype of that. And then the astrologer ends up having to ask how they’ve experienced it so far, if they have it all, in their life.
KB: There’s something about astrologers in the moment of astrology that Geoffrey Cornelius talks about that is able to collapse those realms of potential, and then maybe even get it dead on in a way that is able to land in a way that someone hears it and it exactly resonates in a way that they exactly need to hear at that moment. And I feel like that’s the process of what astrology is that astrologers train themselves to be able to do that collapsing of those potentials into the actuals through the process of talking to people and understanding the context and understanding what may be something that unlocks these deeper ideas about what these structures of reality have the character as it’s unfolding that helps them identify to not only their story, but also the larger contextual dynamics of the world around them and how they relate to it.
I do think that there is something very special about that that astrologers have, but I don’t know if we’ll ever get there to that point with existing computing technology as it stands today, with AI, with the caveat that maybe there’s something about quantum computing that most people that are quantum computer folks are not thinking about in terms of these more esoteric, hermetic, archetypal realities that are giving reality to those potentials. But there is something interesting that with quantum computing, is there a way in which that our intentions and our actions that are happening in a consciousness level are subtly influencing those realms of potential that are able to be collapsed into actuals in a way that maybe a quantum computing AI will be able to recreate what the experience of seeing an astrologer is going to be whereas classical computing won’t because it has more of a binary approach of ones and zeros that don’t deal with non-Boolean logics in the same way that quantum computing might.
CB: Yeah, let’s talk about that. Well, first, though, astrologers can get it wrong. You can be in a consultation, you can say something wrong. So I have to be a little careful because even astrologers are fallible, and that’s honestly the biggest shortcoming of astrology ultimately and that’s always been one of the main things astrologers have talked about for 2000 years in terms of sometimes when astrology doesn’t work is the astrologer being capable of making a bad call or making the wrong call or misinterpreting things or whatever. So that’s a thing. But in terms of astrology and AI, it’s even earlier, earlier days and we have very little, so far currently, the state of things in terms of astrology and computing, there are programs like astro.com for example that have been around for 20 years where you can get a delineation from them, where it’ll spit out like a report that will interpret a bunch of different placements either let’s say in your birth chart or in your transits in isolation. And you can get a pre-written thing of like Pluto in the 7th house means this or Mercury in the 2nd house means this. But none of those programs at this point will synthesize it and synthesis of these different placements is really the thing that’s missing so far that nobody’s pulled off or attempted to pull off. And that’s one thing that you really, at this point in time, need a human astrologer for is to synthesize all of the different placements or at least to attempt to.
KB: Yeah, and I think we’re going to be in that place for a long, long time. I think it’s been a long time, and maybe never, that we’ll get to the point where some of the competing technologies will be able to match what astrologers are able to do. Because there may be some things about the intuitive process of astrology that goes above and beyond what logic could model. Back at the turn of the century when Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell were trying to translate all of the basis of mathematics into logic, that project failed. It failed because there were certain liar paradoxes in the way that it’s impossible to put all of the foundations of mathematics onto logic. And for Bertrand Russell, he went off and started aspects of the analytic tradition that still carry forth that dream of logical positivism or the dream of having everything based upon logic. But Whitehead was liberated from that dream of thinking that all things can be figured out with logic because as a mathematician, he realized that there were aspects of intuition that went above and beyond that could be explained with logic. And it drove him to think of other aspects of how maybe there’s what led to him being more of a pan-experientialist meaning that all the basis of reality is experience. And then on top of that, if you focus on that aesthetics and those feelings and those emotions and those aspects of your embodied experiences, then from there, that’s the most important thing. And that led to his process-relational approach of metaphysics that he created an entire new metaphysics, because as a mathematical physicist, he didn’t like how Einstein was visualizing time and he disagreed with- Einstein and Bergson had a debate around time, and it was a very influential debate. And Bergson, he was talking about these concepts of duration which in essence, we’re talking about these more qualitative aspects of time or direct phenomenological experience of time. And that with Einstein’s approach, it was eliminating that and eliminating the Kairos and only focusing on the Kronos.
There were things that Bergson got wrong in terms of the time travel paradox, but Whitehead came in and was inspired by that, and then drove him to eventually led to him making this process-relational metaphysics with the insights of quantum realities that he saw that the basis of these mass structures that Einstein was using were not robust enough to really cover what was happening in the quantum realm, which led him to make these more radical metaphysical approaches that were saying that all the basis of reality were these processes in relationships, and from there, you can construct all of the nature of reality out of that.
And so, it started with him having a doubt of everything being based on logic and seeing that there is these other aspects of intuition and feeling that were at the more core part of our experience, which doesn’t create this bifurcation of the mind and body which the substance metaphysics does. For panpsychism, that a lot of the work that he started, it says that there’s bits of consciousness in every bit of every atom. And then as that pulls together, it’s somehow being combined into our degrees of consciousness. So rather than having our phenomenal consciousness come out of this dead matter that there’s actually more of an enchanted elements of consciousness into every piece of these smaller processes.
CB: Yeah, for an AI guy that does the VR podcast, or AI podcast, or did an AI podcast, you seem much more skeptical of the ability of AI to go to a certain point or evolve to a certain point when it comes to astrology than I would expect, and I feel like it’s more of an open question. I could see computer programs being developed that could synthesize placements pretty well up to a certain point, but certainly way better than they do now. Because there’s almost been like no steps towards that at this point because it’s not a problem a lot of software companies have even tried to wrestle with. But it makes me think so in part of your response to that, that makes me think as a counterpoint something like what if, for example, in the matrix were part of the setup of in the first two matrixes, there was like a logical, the architect of the matrix they like created two very logical versions of the matrix but they didn’t work out because humans didn’t accept them. But then there was an intuitive program or program that’s designed to be more intuitive that came up with the version that did take when they gave people choice, even if they only had that choice at an unconscious level.
But there is a question for me, what if there could be some program that could develop intuition or could be designed in order to understand whatever the component of intuition is? It seems like you’re taking that off the table as a possibility of something that machines could never achieve or that’s only a property of humans.
KB: Well, I guess part of the reason that there’s skepticism is coming out of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem that came out of the work of Principia Mathematica. So in that effort of trying to translate everything down to logic, they realized they couldn’t do that. And part of that was led to what Gödel realized was that there’s a fundamental incompleteness for any formal system that you can either be one of two things, you can be consistent or complete, but you can’t be both. You have to choose one or the other. And so, what that means is that for any system that you have, so any computer program that you try to do, you’re able to reveal some information, but you’re always going to have some information that’s occluded from you that you don’t understand that’s going to be left out, because there’s a fundamental incompleteness to the nature of these different types of systems that you try to create. So if you understand the Gödel incompleteness reality, then it leads to that both skepticism of creating a technological deterministic system that’s able to describe the nature of reality as an example. Or if that tried to encompass all of astrology, and even astrology is incomplete, they’re things that astrology can’t handle. So there’s an incompleteness to astrology, but there’s also an incompleteness of any program that tries to describe astrology. Because there’s going to be things that are true within that system that you can’t prove that are true within that system. That’s what Gödel basically mathematically proved.
So there’s ways in which that’s in the realm of logic and the realm of math, but I’m making a metaphor for how astrology is actually very similar to mathematics and the structures of mathematics. And if we look at the philosophy of mathematics, then we can start to see the limits of what astrology can do, but also the limits of computation and the limits of what we can do with trying to model things. Because the maps, these are creating symbolic maps of reality, but there’s a difference between the map and the territory. And there’s things within the territory that you’re never able to fully understand from a conceptual level and then be able to encompass within a logical system, which also encompasses that Gödel’s incompleteness. So there’s going to be things about our direct embodied experiences that we have day to day that we can’t even put language to. That’s another example of how our experience is so much richer than the language that we have that we can describe it. And that’s why Whitehead has this fallacy of misplaced concreteness, which is that we think about when we come up with the language in the description of the models of things that those become the things, but there’s actually more that is not included within those models of that language that we haven’t been able to encompass. And human experience is always greater than those ways of describing it.
So astrology is a language describing the human experience, but can never really fully describe the full richness of the human experience. There’s always going to be a gap between the quality of what the direct experience is and what the model of reality is saying, which is the- So there’s a danger of thinking of astrology as the fallacy of misplaced concreteness that the map is the territory. But it’s just a map, it’s not the territory.
CB: All right. Well, this is making me want to take this on as a challenge, not because I have a hard core conviction that you could build a computer that could eventually do delineations as good as humans, but I think the level of synthesis of actual AI usage or machine synthesis in astrology right now is so pitifully behind and underdeveloped that we could definitely get way beyond where we are now in terms of having computer-generated reports that do provide some basic synthesis of placements, or even just provide some possibilities of positive outcome, negative outcome, neutral outcome based on past events that had been experienced by people that had the same placements. I mean, that’s all stuff that could be programmed. It’s more of a challenge of collecting all the data and inputting it than it is that actually being a possibility. I think we get to that point that’s making me want to take on the challenge of developing a program that would do that, because I’ve been thinking about developing an app as well as developing a software program that could run on the computer that would do things that the current programs like Solar Fire that was designed 20 years ago can’t and still very much look like they’re from the ’90s, especially the user interface, but that could be one specific motivation or reason why to develop that program and what I would want to accomplish in doing so that would set it apart from others.
KB: Yeah, I think my orientation to those things is that I think you’re right in a way that there is certainly advancements that can happen. And then at the same time, I think once those advancements happen, then the humans will be able to build on that and then do things that the computers still can’t do. As an example, I think of a technique like Zodiacal Releasing as an example. If someone comes in and gets a reading about Zodiacal Releasing, they’re not able to basically efficiently communicate their entire life story in their biography that fits into some mass structure of what the planetary periods that the L1, L2, L3, L4 are in, but imagine AI is able to do that kind of pay attention to listening to- This gets into the very creepy area of technology where what degree are you willing to give over your agency and your privacy over to these things that are tracking this. But let’s say for the sake of the argument that we have a benefic AI that you’re in control of that’s able to track these things in a way that’s trying to help you rather than surveil you or control or manipulate you, which is most of the time is. But if we do have a way in which we’re able to capture those deeper contextual dimensions, I think we’ll probably be leading into a realm where rather than having an astrologer give all those delineations, it may be presenting all this information to give a presentation of that information for people to make their own intuitive judgments about these different patterns in their life. And I can see a way in which like just an example of taking photos, just imagine all the different photos you’ve ever taken on your phone. And if you were able to apply a series of different timing techniques astrologically and you could open your phone right now and you say, oh my gosh, this moment right now is connected to this cycle that happened at a Venus cycle eight years ago or Mercury’s cycle 20 years ago or Sun cycle 19 years ago or Mars cycle 15 years ago, or any quadrature aspect of those and so like a square to that, or maybe not quadrature. But with these different phases, the retrograde cycle of Venus as an example of the last retrograde cycle, however way you break those up.
CB: That’s a really good example actually, because something you can input your emails. I have 20 years of Gmail. Not 20, 15 years of Gmail at this point. And with the Venus retrograde cycles, having a program that could scan all your emails and ask what was happening eight years ago in Venus’s retrograde in that sign, and it comes back and says it looks like you’re going through a breakup at that time, that would be helpful in a way that could give you a shortcut to researching astrology using some machine learning or program. But yeah, we’re still… Then taking that judgment that’s not a judgment, you’re the one making the judgment, but it’s able to process data more faster than you maybe you can on your own.
KB: Yeah. And I think we’re going to be moving into that realm where we’re as more of the fluency in the astrological language and the power of being able to look at these different things, we’re not at the point of being able to have those different ways of doing those big vast machine learning AI, ways of dumping in all of our data that then can then be processed, that allow us to find some mode of being able to navigate the underlying mathematical structures of our lives, or the archetypal dynamics in the cycles of our lives. And that being able to lead to insight not as an individual, but imagine if astrologers are able to become fluent and they are able to enter in a virtual world that has access to all these things and you’re able to walk through the structures of someone’s lives and be able to make delineations based upon empirical evidence that’s been gathered at specific times that are known because it’s time stamped on the phone. So you have this repository of all this empirical data of someone’s lives that then you’re able to then make more informed decisions. I think that is where thinking about, doing all that but yet, you still need the astrologer at the end of the day to be able to help interpret those things. Because there’s a pattern recognition of humans, but also AI can only do as much as they’re trained to do in terms of machine learning and being able to, that same thing I talked about the limits of language in modeling versus what you do with intuitive processes that you can’t fully even understand.
CB: Yeah. And one of the things you and I were talking about that I do think is a limitation also, one of the questions you run into as a counseling astrologer and looking at some of these chart and making predictions is sometimes just because you can say something with astrology doesn’t mean that you should, and sometimes there’s a real judgment call that the astrologer has to make in reading someone’s chart or in doing the consultation of seeing, is this person capable of receiving this information? And is it going to be helpful or is this actually going to be harmful or detrimental to them in some way, with the background, almost like medical dictum of do no harm, whatever the astrologer version of that is, ideally, being in the back of your mind. That’s something where I could see I could see a machine not being as helpful or making a bad call and not having that empathy I guess in some way as being something that might not be as developed where there could be problems, let’s say.
KB: Yeah. When I hear you talk about that, I think about how there’s a process of looking into the past and also looking into the future. So the astrological process can be looking at the past in a story and then an astrologer can tell you what something may mean. But ultimately, it’s still going to be up to the person as to whether or not they adopt that interpretation, or whether they have their own interpretation for what it means in the context of the story of their life. And so it’s still up into some ways, the agency of the client to be able to make that judgment call as to whether or not they adopt somebody else’s story about what has already happened. The risky thing is when you start to look into the future and to say, well, because of this configuration, you’re never going to find love as an example. Because you have this and that in detriment, then this is something that I as an astrologer I’m saying that this is a potential that has now been eliminated because that’s basically bounded off into being an unlikely probability, but I’m going to go ahead and say it’s not going to happen.
CB: Well, that was part of the premise of Minority Report, which is interesting as I rewatching that recently and impressed by how well they did in predicting certain trends that are much more feasible and plausible are actually happening now than they were 20 years ago and it came out in 2002 because they actually consulted with futurologists. But the one part that is more fantasy or sci-fi and not as realistic currently was the core of the story, which was the predictive capability of the three people that could see the future and they were using it to predict that a murder would take place beforehand and then they were arresting the people before they committed the murder, but still then charging them with everything else. But part of the premise ended up becoming that once the person knew about the future, they had a choice at that point to still go through with it or to make a different choice.
KB: Yeah, this is the concept of a thought crime so having a computer determine that you’re going to do something and it prosecutes you for the crime before you do it. And this is, I think, to this part where I said that humans are not deterministic mathematical structures. And part of the reason why I say that is that math is incomplete. There’s no way to fully model someone’s human behaviors in a way that is going to allow you to deterministically and concretely understand what they’re going to do in the future. And I think that’s where cosmologically when I look at things like relational quantum mechanics and realism quantum mechanics, or transactional or relational realism, these are all looking at these aspects of potentia and potential, where there’s a range of possibility, this is what Tarnas says, of the archetypal predictive, but not concretely predictive. This is mirrored into these discussions about quantum realities, where there are these potentials and these probabilities, these range of possibilities, but only one ends up once the measurement happens, it sets a context that then collapses all these things. Whether it’s collapse or not collapse, there’s other interpretations where Wigner von Neumann says that consciousness is actually engaged in collapsing that wave function. The Copenhagen interpretation says that the measurement is actually a part of helping set the context that collapses that and bounds it in some ways. But Tim Eastman talks about for any measurement, there’s an input output in the context.
So there’s some ways, there’s a triadic relationship that is not something that is just deterministically determined in isolation from the world around you. And so there’s this nested context that has embedded all this stuff. So because of that nature of context and the nature of measurement and the nature of everything else, I don’t think it’s going to be possible to understand what the aspirations of where humans are going to be doing in the future. There’s ways to be able to look at all the data in the world to understand and mathematically model somebody, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to understand their aspirations, their intentions, their motivations, and to understand how their intentional actions are going to play out within the larger context of reality, though that seems beyond the capacity of any way of understanding or modeling to a deterministic concrete predictive way. I feel fairly confident of saying that I’m very skeptical that that’s going to be possible. I could be proven wrong, but-
CB: I am constantly running into a version of this with electional astrology, where part of the thing I’ve done over the past decade is really focused on natal as a continuing thing, but also electional. And one of the things that the new technologies have afforded me with Solar Fire and like the animate chart feature, which I constantly have up on one of my monitors, or being able to pull up the chart of the moment really easily with Astro Gold on my phone is like knowing during the course of the day, what the chart of the moment is at any given moment in time, and what the rising sign is, and what planets are rising up and hitting the Ascendant or culminating or hitting the Descendant or IC. And I’m constantly seeing things happen that either happen in my environment that perfectly match when like a planet hits an angle at that time, and the symbolism of that planet perfectly reflects what’s happening in that moment, like if I received like an aggressive email or something like that, and Mars is on the Descendant at the time. There’s that.
But then there’s also oftentimes, I’m about to do something and I’m motivated to do something and would be about to in that moment. Like if I’m about to send like an angry email to somebody, and then I’ll stop and look at the chart of the moment and like Mars will be right on the Ascendant at that time. And knowing what the potential outcome is sometimes of something can change it, but you sometimes find yourself having a choice because your own internal impulse, and if you hadn’t known about that at that time, would have been to go ahead and do that thing at that very moment. And it may have very well oftentimes, in many instances, and let’s say that instance, led to a negative outcome. And that’s something you can say with, not 100% certainty, but a fair amount of certainty after doing things like this over and over again, enough times of knowing what electional charts or inception charts are going to lead to a negative outcome versus a positive or constructive outcome. And there’s something about that that could create some of the similar issues in terms of what you’re talking about with the thought crime dilemma or similar versions of that.
KB: Yeah. And there’s something about that moment when you look at the chart, the moment of astrology as Geoffrey Cornelius talks about it is that when you ask a question horary, it’s all about when the questioner or the querent asks the horary astrologer is the moment that the horary astrologer decides they call the question then he or she or they look at the chart at that moment, and it’s at that moment where the answer is contained, but it’s not a moment any time before or after. So it’s the realm of potentials that are then collapsing in that moment that’s the realm of possibilities, all the different contextual dimensions are compressing up to that moment to be able to make that judgment so that the moment of astrology is in that moment, rather than in the future.
CB: Well, that complicates things there because that has to do with complications with horary and what the nature of horary is and it has to do with one of the issues it comes down to an issue of what is the horary moment, and Cornelius is one of the people which I actually agree with that the horary chart, and part of the paradigm of horary is actually the exchange of a question between two parties and it’s based on earlier framework based on consultation charts that astrologer can cast a chart for the moment a client comes to them for consultation, and the chart will describe not just what the person is focused on, but potentially what the outcome of what their thoughts are at the time and as a whole genre of thought interpretation in the medieval and late Hellenistic period. So that’s a whole complicated thing that has to do though with that branch in and of itself and what the true nature of horary is in exchanging a question between two parties, and that exchange not really fleeting place until the second party has accepted and read the question and decided they’ll answer it. But whether that’s fully- I don’t know if that’s fully indicative of what the rest of astrology is necessarily per se because it’s tied up in that versus a single individual paying attention to the chart of the moment. And if it collapses at that point, if the wave particle thing collapses at the moment that they look at it because they still have to make a choice at that point and have a choice to make if they see either a positive or negative indication and they’re inclined to act at that time.
KB: Yeah, what brings to mind is going back to those incompleteness aspects and also pluralism. So the incompleteness mean that for every specific system like horary has a specific set of axiomatic rules that it follows. And then out of that, has certain insights that come out of that. But given different set of rules, you get different insights. And so that’s how different branches have different sets of rules and different axioms and different ways, and all of them work. And that’s the dilemma of pluralism, which is that there is a whole wide range of different possibilities that also seem to have contradictions between the different techniques but yet, given the astrologer in the context, it doesn’t explode into contradiction. So that’s why it’s a paraconsistent logic, meaning the paired consistency is that you’re able to have a little bit of inconsistencies and a little bit more of the completeness.
And it’s not a binary choice between completeness and consistency, you’re able to have more of a complete reaction by dealing with the little subtle aspects of inconsistency as long as you’re not applying different techniques from one system from another system where you’re able to mash things together that don’t follow established rules. It’s a mash up that maybe doesn’t work because it’s violating what those… It’s creating these inconsistencies within the system that don’t yield the results, because you’re not following the logic of whatever that system is.
Because of that, I do think that astrology is this weird paraconsistent system that does have this wide range of different rules. And somehow, they all work to certain degrees, but in certain contexts, in ways that there’s limitations for they work within certain bounds. And so that’s the challenge of, I’d say, epistemology within astrology was how do you determine what knowledge is? And how do you determine what those rules are? And how do you determine what really works? That’s been like an oral tradition that’s been based upon the embodied experiences, but there’s a transmission of translating those things in the books. But there’s limits into what those books can contain versus what the direct experiences of that. So there’s always loss in not only rules, but why they work. But also, do they need to be reimagined? Or are they shifting? Are they changing? Can you create hypothetical planets or create new systems just by creating new axiomatic rules and seeing what happens based upon whatever you decide to do? Is it that flexible that you can do that with? And so that’s the type of things when you look at all the different techniques of astrology, it seems to be indicating that the world is set up like that.
CB: Maybe there’s a certain amount of flexibility, but I don’t think it’s that arbitrary necessarily. And while there’s certainly different approaches that work and have their own internal logic and consistency, and we might treat them more like languages where you have different languages that have their own internal logic that can work internally, even if they don’t interact with each other as well. But then at the same time, sometimes there are- Did you read the Under One Sky book? It was like the sky had 10 or 12 different astrologers interpret the same chart, and some of them did a good job and got it right, but some of them didn’t. And the interpretation didn’t actually land with the person and there were some problems with that. One of them is that they were written delineations rather than actually sitting down with the client and actually replicating what a consultation would be, which would be more of a dialogue. But nonetheless, there can be astrology that doesn’t land or doesn’t accurately depict reality, which is not a very good or effective astrology if that’s happening. So we have to make some room for that. And that’s something that’s- We’ve reached an interesting and that’s going to be one of the difficulties and great challenges I think in the next decade in this next phase of astrology is there’s so many different astrologers at this point and politically astrologers that tend, for the most part, the astrological community tends to be more liberal or left leaning and therefore having intentions for wanting to be more inclusive and embracing diversity. And therefore, that question when it comes to competing astrological approaches has been framed in more of an almost closet political context or cultural context of seeing all approaches as valid and useful and just as effective and not negating any-
But because it’s also a system and a technique, and because also sometimes you’re attempting to accomplish something and there’s some things that can be accomplished more effectively or less effectively, I think we might run into that as an issue in the coming decades in terms of that desire to want to be more inclusive, but then also, that question of are there more or less effective ways to use astrology?
KB: Yeah, I think when I hear about those discussions, often what comes up for me is there’s an anecdote within astrology community is that given whoever you’re drawn to resonate with that if you go to that astrologer with questions, they’re going to likely be able to provide you answers. So there’s some attraction that may happen. But there’s also cases where that doesn’t happen.
CB: Yeah, there’s- Have you ever had like a bad consultation?
KB: Well, I’ve only had- Most of my discussions I’ve actually had from my interviews and stuff. I have very little proper consultations. But there are certainly cases where that doesn’t work, where sometimes you have an alignment and sometimes you don’t. I guess when I think about all these different types of things when you’re attempting to try to do like a scientific, do one chart and see what the different interpretations and have certain rules, there’s a certain context under which that could work for someone and could not work for others. And so then for me becomes if you’re going to try to reduce things down to numbers and statistics and like that, it’s like the approach of reductive materialism or reducing things down into component parts. But there’s a Gestalt holism that is different than and how do you- So if that’s true, if it’s different, then how do you measure success or failure? And is it through utility? Is it useful for people? Do they find that it’s able to give them insights? Or is it able to reflect a part of the story of their lives? Because you can look at astrology as a narrative technology that is a process of helping people understand their essential character and how their lives are unfolding in relationship to the world around them, relative to the world contexts and the world transits. So as people are going through that, then it’s more of a phenomenological experience of whether or not it’s able to provide value in their lives from a narrative context rather than a context that can be reduced down to some statistical numbers.
CB: Yeah, that was something I was thinking about recently that was interesting, dichotomy or split, which is that most astrologers actually use astrology themselves as a tool for self-understanding and self-knowledge in some broad sense, but most of the public is only really interested in astrology and so much as it has the ability to make accurate predictions. And there’s a little bit of a difference between the two disconnect.
KB: Yeah, there’s the mundane and the natal. And again, there’s different contexts in which people have different understandings for what astrology is and what it can do. I’m just constantly amazed of how robust it is and how many things it claims to do, but also how many legitimate insights that it’s able to provide across so many different contexts.
CB: Right. So one thing to bring up is, is astrology a language? Because that’s become almost a cliche at this point over the past 10 or 20 years to frame astrology as a language, and I think it makes sense to think of astrology as a language in many ways, but I think it’s interesting that actually in thinking about our conversations as not a way that you framed it so far, you seem to have a tendency to frame it more in the sense of mathematics or mathematical principles or something like that. But I raised that question because if astrology is a language, then it would seem like it would be something that an AI could learn at some point up to a certain extent in the same way that there’s been massive leaps and bounds in for example, we’re talking about Google recognizing your voice and being able to process what you’ve said on your phone at this point or in Google Translate, being able to translate between many different languages at this point, which has just been huge progress over the past decade.
KB: Yeah. When I look at Jung’s seven different things that he used in terms of trying to interpret astrology and the explanation for the mechanism for how it works, one of them which was this process of mathematics in the realm of which that there’s a Pythagorean Platonic realm of ideal forms that are somehow mysteriously interfacing with reality from more of a formal causation perspective and so that’s how the blueprint and the mathematical structures are somehow interfacing with reality. So I personally add more of that mathematical Platonist and Neoplatonist orientation where I do think there’s underlying structures and they are interfacing with reality. And I think that Whitehead’s eternal objects that he affords within his metaphysical system that goes from the realms of potential into the actual, there’s that process of those realms of potential that have those eternal objects that you can think of as those archetypal complexes that are somehow at that lower level that have what I would call Aristotelian formal causation from those blueprints in those potentials into the actuals.
But at the same time, when I went to the math, part of the reason why I went to mathematics was because of the AI but also, because of I don’t think you’ll find more Platonists within the realm of practicing professionals, or philosophers than in the realm of philosophy of mathematics, because there’s a lot of practicing mathematicians who self-identify as mathematical Platonists, which means that when they describe their day to day work, they feel like that they’re actually discovering objects that are already there in another Platonic realm of ideal forms, and that they’re somehow mysteriously interfacing with through their intuition or their consciousness to suss out what those structures of those math structures are and that they’re more reporting on something that they’re discovering than something that they’re inventing with their language in their mind.
Now, the opposite approach is the nominalists who are thinking that everything that has been created is just a semantic description, more of the Wittgenstein approach of nominalism. Nominalism means naming things and giving it a name. And that there’s a whole branch of mathematics that’s the opposite of the Platonism, you could call it either anti-Platonism or fictionalism or nominalism, all of these are saying that the math is just a language that you’re sending up the rules. And within the context of those rules, we have different dynamics. But that doesn’t mean that there’s these transcendent non-spatial temporal math objects that are somehow mysteriously interfacing with the structures of reality.
So when I go to the American Philosophical Association and talk to the fosters of math who have been steeped in the analytic tradition, they are mostly the nominalists and fictionists. They think of math as just a language game. But when I go to the math conferences and talk to the actual mathematicians, they’re mostly mathematical Platonists who believe that there’s actually these deeper structures of atonic realm of ideal forms that they’re interfacing with directly, that from their own embodied experience.
There’s a book by Mark Balaguer called Platonism and Anti-Platonism in Mathematics. And in there, he describes these two debates. And his conclusion is that both are true, that both are legitimate. But there’s no way to determine which is which is true. So even though Balaguer, the author is an anti-Platonist himself, he’s more in the nominal scamp who doesn’t believe that this. And the big complaint is that there’s no mechanism as to how we understand how we’re interfacing with these Platonic realms. How do we know? If we’re products of the spatial temporal reality of metric space time, how are we interfacing with the non-spatial realm? It’s an unknown mechanism as to how that exchange between the spatial temporal and the non-spatial temporal and the non-local, and that’s where the process of astrology of going from those archetypal potentials and somehow collapsing it into the potential and the actual.
But a lot of people are also talking about the nominalists in terms of mathematics. Part of my argument that I made within the Ascendant the Second Edition from the Association of Young Astrologers, I wrote an article that was saying, maybe the astrological community should look into some of these similar debates that have been happening within the philosophy of mathematics because there’s a lot of parallels here. So you could believe that there’s actually something there going into astrology and it has some degree of formal causation, or treat it more of a language game and what Jungian and one of the other Jungian approaches is this Acausal Correlation Principle of Synchronicity. It’s like a cosmic clock that’s unfolding, and that it’s somehow correlated by not being causally related between the unfolding structures of society and individuals. So that there’s this way of these archetypal potentials that are happening internally within us, but also being reflected into the things that we can observe with the motions of the planets, that there’s these correlations between the Kronos aspect to being able to the major lows, but also the Kairos of the quality and the archetypal potentials of those that are also matching our experience. And that the Wittgenstein approach actually is to deny the formal causation in a way and just rely upon the Acausal Principle of the Synchronicity because it is more in alignment with the substance metaphysics way of thinking about things. Because if it’s not causally related, it’s just correlated, then there’s no mechanistic thing that gets tripped up.
But in that discussion, it’s the same conclusion that I have that you could legitimately look at astrology as if they’re actually Platonic realms that we’re interfacing with and that they’re actual in the real and that those potentials are there. Kastner and Epperson have talked about how the quantum potential should be described as this ontological reality and they’ve argued for that. Or I can also say and make the same argument to say that it’s just a language game. It’s just language and it’s just describing the reality, but there may be nothing there beyond us finding ways of, like the wine taster, trying to describe the flavors. It’s just the astrologer is describing the flavors of all the different archetypal expressions, but it’s us just describing the language of something, but that doesn’t mean that there’s these transcendent math objects that are mysteriously interfacing with reality. So the nominalists turn and the naturalists and the ones that are the fictionists and the anti-Platonists, in math that’s the treating astrology purely as a language is that kind of Wittgenstein approach of what the analytic tradition of philosophy does, which is try to just reduce things down to a language game, rather than something that’s transcendent.
CB: Yeah. Well, I don’t think in order to frame astrology as the language that you have to resort to nominalism because it’s actually quite the opposite. The presumption from an astrological context is that the language would be something that is universal and is existing out there externally from human perception operating in the cosmos, and that is also informing our lives and providing some weird narrative underlying our lives, even when we’re not aware of it, which then implies some greater meaning of purpose and meaning that is preexistent out there in the cosmos. A lot of this with the Platonism, one of the things that’s bringing up that takes us back to the concept of AI it’s reminding me of is the Timaeus and how Plato sets up this situation where the cosmos itself is a living being or a cosmic animal. And some of the ideas that were spun off from that in ancient Hermeticism and Stoicism that were derived from those Platonic ideas and some of that Platonic tradition of the notion of the microcosm and the macrocosm. And that’s exactly what the Thema Mundi was partially conceptualized early on was the birth chart of the cosmos, but also the birth chart of God in some sense.
So what I’m bringing that up for is it makes me think of this idea of consciousness and whether consciousness can be created in AI. And one of the questions is whether the cosmos itself has consciousness and it’s a property somehow of the cosmos or of the universe that’s inherent and diffused throughout it, rather than just being something that is only restricted to us and restricted to humans. Yeah.
KB: Yeah, there’s a lot of big ideas there, the nature of consciousness at the collective and individual scale. I want to just make a couple quick comments though. There’s a paper that’s called Machine Learning as Neoplatonism. So there’s actually people within the machine learning community that are looking at philosophies of Neoplatonism because of this dilemma that I talked about earlier in terms of the bottom up versus the top down, having some structures of reality that are able to describe the embodied experience and melding those two things together. So I do think that’s like a thing that we’re dealing with.
And just to also the point that you made around the nominalism and how you can have both, Hegel talks about the thesis-antithesis but eventually, there’s a synthesis. So right now, the book that’s being presented as Platonism versus anti-Platonism. I do think that there’s probably a realm where they could have a synthesis and there’s a combination in a way that is able to blend those two realities together. I think astrology actually could be the end result of that, where in the context of math, it’s absence of a deeper embodied experience that would maybe lead people to make that leap of saying that there’s some way of that they’re both happening in some ways, that the reality is there an underlying Platonic realm, but there’s language that’s describing it. And just because there’s language describing it, doesn’t mean that it’s denying the reality of that.
CB: Yeah, astrology is a mercurial art. That’s always one of the things about it is it always straddles the line when there is a division or a dichotomy between two things where it always ends up being a little bit of both.
KB: Yeah. And I do think that as we look at all those things, these debates that are happening in philosophy, oftentimes, there’s debates around whether there’s ever progress in philosophy because you can get to a point and you say, well, both are true. And at some point, how do you decide how to make a choice as to what’s more likely or not? So there’s all these different debates. And the more that I’ve talked to different philosophers, I see that there’s these existential tensions where you can go either way. So if I have a preference in any moment, if someone’s arguing for one side, I may argue the other side, saying, ”Well, actually, you could just describe it as a nominalist interpretation.” Which could be a way of people interfacing with astrology with the wide world of saying, well, there’s nothing there that’s there. It’s just a language game.
But to go back to your question around consciousness, because I think it’s a really rich and deep one, because there is this question as to whether or not if we’re building these agents of artificial intelligence, are they conscious? And to what degree are they conscious? And to what degree are we conscious? And how are we conscious? And then how is the world conscious? So from most of the beginnings of how Tarnas talks about it, he talks about this contrast between the enchanted worldview and the disenchanted worldview. The disenchanted worldview is that everything’s just dead matter and that doesn’t have any consciousness to it and the consciousness is just an epiphenomena of the biological organism of our body and that the limit of materialist perspective is that all of our phenomenal consciousness is just merely an illusion.
Now that I don’t think matches my own experience. I think that’s not very satisfactory to just deny my own reality. But there is something about your experience of phenomenal consciousness that you can’t necessarily interrogate or test or get outside of that. So if we can’t even say that we’re conscious, then how are we going to say that something else is conscious, which is a dilemma of how do you measure to the degree at which your consciousness, do you have consciousness? If you can’t do that for humans, then how you expect to do that for AI?
CB: Yeah, I mean, part of this premise also is that in the modern viewpoint, there’s consciousness and there’s everything outside of that which is disconnected and there’s a stark division between you and the cosmos. But then in ancient cosmologies, he was saying there was not a disconnect. There was your consciousness, but also there was consciousness occurring in the cosmos and that astrology, the biggest thing that it points to is that there is actually a connection and a mirroring between your consciousness and the movements of the planets, which implies that there’s a more of an embodied consciousness or soul that’s existing in the cosmos as well, like outside of you as well as inside of you.
KB: Yeah, I know that Tarnas often quotes Plotinus saying that everything breathes together, as part of Plotinus explanations of astrology in terms of this coordination that’s this larger organism that is somehow related to each other. And I think that enchanted worldview of what Hillman would call the Anima Mundi or the world soul, I do believe that there is some aspect of that. And the way that I understand it is those realms of potential that are the universe has been constructed moment to moment that because of our substance metaphysics, we think of our embodied experience of like this table is here and that it’s physical and reality, and there’s a way that we project that model of reality onto the entire universe is something that’s like this static object that’s not dynamic, and any of the properties of qualia are qualities that are properties on top of that. But what this shift towards the process-relational approach is putting the qualitative aspects at more of a core reality, some more of this debate as to whether or not there’s universals and how those universals and those qualities, if they’re embedded at a deeper part of reality in those Platonic forms, and that as we see them manifest in reality if we’re being recalled back to those deeper forms of reality and that we’re experiencing our emotions and our qualities based upon both the final causation which means the intention of the maker who’s creating it, but also the formal causation, which means the math structures that are underlying it that are shaping different aspects of those qualities.
So both the final causation and formal causation are key parts I think of understanding the degree to which that with Whitehead, it’s like the whole, and also the quantum law of gravity, is like there’s the quantum substrate and that from there, the metrical spacetime is coming out of that. And the way that Whitehead describes it is that there’s these rather than physics being like this matter, and then physics on top of biology and chemistry and then on up into psychology and sociology, but the grounding of modern sciences physics. However, what Whitehead is saying is that the grounding of reality should be biology and these organisms because you have to think in terms of these ecosystems of relationships and patterns of energy that are in relationship to each other. And when you look at things in terms of those metaphors of ecological ecosystems, then you can describe the lowest aspects of reality from the quantum potential and all these archetypal potentials that are having those non-Boolean logics and those potentials archetypally. And then somehow, moment to moment, everything is collapsing into the construction of the universe, but that there’s these structures that are nested to each other, just like the natal chart is the underlying aspect that sets the context of your life, that there’s these deeper structures that are longer processes that are unfolding. And then within the context of those, then there’s smaller and smaller nested contexts that are within that context. And so, all of reality are these processes all the way down. It’s processes that are unfolding at different scales. And so you can look at different outer planetary cycles and you can look at the Neptune-Pluto of the 1994 year cycle. That’s like the deeper cycle that is setting the larger contextual dimensions of that epoch. And then you have Uranus-Neptune which is another scale where there’s two of those whatever those three, and then there’s the Uranus and Pluto. And so on and on and on, there’s different scales, different planetary periods that within those, they’re creating this, in philosophy is called this Mariology, which is sets of nested contexts that are fractally nested within each other. And so if you think about the mass structure of process, it’s those fractally nested processes that are all connected together.
So given that, the concepts of the Anima Mundi means that there’s a trajectory and a movement of these dynamics that are unfolding that has a telos, that has a purpose or has a movement, and then from there, that somehow gets constructed in reality based upon how we react and interact at a collective scale, but also as individuals.
CB: Yeah. The idea of nesting that takes me back to the artificial intelligence thing. And if astrology could be used as model for artificial intelligence or for creating consciousness, thinking about how that would work, and thinking about a birth chart and thinking about the different planets and what each of the planets represents and the different drives, or in psychological astrology, the different psychological impulses that each of the planets is said to be associated with, like Mercury is communication, Moon as your emotions or your body, Jupiter as the growth and expansion side of things, Saturn as the contraction side, and different things like that. I mean, we could probably take some of those and use those as a model of the things that are necessary impulses to have as the spheres of the planets in ancient astrology of these different concentric spheres that are necessary. And only once you put all those pieces together, do you have like a full model for what consciousnesses is?
KB: Yeah, I totally agree. I know that Chad Harris has actually gone to different consciousness conferences presenting archetypal cosmology as a model of consciousness, and so it is something that has started to maybe get into more esoteric approaches of these modern discussions around consciousness. But I totally agree with everything you said in terms of there is something very powerful about the astrological process that models dimensions of our consciousness that have this- It’s a system, it’s very holistic and interconnected in a way that you don’t see very many other math structures or systems that can really do that at that same scale. And to see how there are these nested cycles that have different scales that are unfolding in different ways and they’re combining and not only is that happening as an individual, but that’s also happening in a collective society. So there’s this interesting- And that’s the nested part of the individual’s a part of that larger context of the whole, but also is contributing sometimes if they have like Uranus opposition then they make a big breakthrough, like Jung, or Freud, or Newton, or Galileo, any of these folks that are coming through with big breakthroughs that comes from the individual that then seeps into the collective at maybe these moments of opportunity that are able to make that. And so there’s this interchange between the culture and the individuals that are happening.
But with AI right now, as I talked to AI researchers, what they say is that basically anything that a human could put a label on, you can start to train a supervised learning machine learning process to do that. The challenge is that you could start to maybe, the quote we talked about Kierkegaard yesterday, which is that life can only be understood backwards, but it has to be lived forwards. I think the same thing happens here. Because you could look at everything that’s happened up to a certain point of someone’s life and maybe come up into a mass structure that describes everything, and maybe help model and have them gain some intuition and insight into their lives. But are you able to ever, get into those aspirations or those intentions or those parts about their lives that make a choice that how do you know what choice they’re going to make that could set their lives off to a completely different part? So that challenge of trying to project and predict into the future is a much harder problem. But if you have that math structure of astrology and you’re doing, say, some really evil psychographic profiling, or you’re trying to understand someone’s intentions or behaviors and trying to model the personality and behavior then yeah, something like astrology could be really dangerous if into the hands of someone who’s got access to all this biometric and physiological and biometric data of all of your behaviors and across different actions, i.e. Meta, or these big surveillance capitalism companies. There could be ways in which that- Otherwise, it’d be just a watch of lots of undifferentiated data. But given the context and the story of what the astrology would say, they may be able to close the gap between what those actual potentials are and what the actuals are. And then maybe at that point, I think it’s still an open question is that even if they are able to do that and create a perfect model of all your behaviors up to this point, can they still be able to tell you what you want in the future, what your aspirations are, or what your preferences are, or if they’re able to really tune into the deeper aspects of consciousness and context that is missing from some of those models?
CB: Yeah. Well, let’s get into that because that would be an interesting discussion on direction of the dystopic scenarios for this and how astrology could be used. But before we get there, just briefly to mention, the other thing that’s unique is each birth chart, in addition to being unique and being a completely unique snapshot of that moment in time that’s never fully recreated, the cosmos is never fully recreated with all those placements at that unique moment in time, you also have all of the birth charts that you’re interacting with through synastry in your family unit like growing up or in the people that are in your immediate environment and those charts are interacting and influencing the development of certain placements in your chart in some ways that are more constructive, in other ways that might be more challenging or destructive or inhibitive like encouraging certain parts of the chart to grow or inhibiting it through the charts of people you’re interacting with at different points in your life, or eventually friends or eventually partners or people you work with or what have you.
Additionally, each person that has unique chart is also moving through time and experiencing transits at different points in their life or activations through timing at different points. There’s a lot of really unique things that would also have to be taken into account that just starts getting crazy complex and complicated if you’re talking about trying to program that or use that as a model for AI and some of the issues that you would run into.
So let’s get into some of the dystopian scenarios though. Facebook’s already using things like, you talked about using ads in order to knowing a person’s preferences or knowing what websites they’re viewing, and then they’re using that in order to know what ads to serve you that you might click on. That’s like a really basic- It’s really early days of some of that stuff. They’re also taking into account… We’ve run into issues of people using political targeting like targeting certain demographics or certain people that have certain types of views that they want to target or influence in order to influence how they’ll vote or something like that by serving them propaganda or different things like that. So the astrological component of that at some point, if any company of that stature wanted to take that stuff seriously, could be gearing certain things towards them either in terms of ads or in terms of political propaganda that might resonate them more highly, and using that in some way to influence them, let’s say just influence their behavior in some way even subtly.
KB: Yeah, there’s quite a lot of existing what is referred to as psychographic profiling. So tracking your behaviors, and then trying to create some model of who you are that either is- I don’t think they’re trying to get as far as to describe your essential character at the low level of who you are as a person that would have quite an astrological connection. It’s mostly around like, are you interested in this type of activity? Because they’re trying to come up to how people… And advertisers do a search and say, ”We want to find everybody in Denver, Colorado that’s into astrology.” That’s sometimes at the level that they’re going. They’re not getting so specific as to somebody who’s like also a Leo rising who has a tight configuration of Neptune and the Moon, something like that. They’re not getting into that degree of specificity of the different types of profiling because utility-wise, that doesn’t serve them anything. No one’s searching for Moon-Neptune conjunctions in Colorado. Even if that were, that doesn’t have enough of that context.
And sometimes, that’s good news because if they did have all those tools that could be down a path, it’s even darker than we are now, which we may be leading there in terms of as we continue to progress. One of the trends I just wanted to call out is this concept of contextually aware AI, and this is especially in the context of augmented reality. So you’re walking around with what they call egocentric daggered capture with these cameras that are measuring each and everything that you’re seeing. And so there’s this process right now that Meta is going through which is trying to take all that computer vision and basically the data stream that would be coming from your eyes, but trying to capture all of that and integrate models have your context. And they understand the relational dimensions of your context and to be able to, let’s say, you’re in your kitchen. And when you’re in the kitchen, you want to say… A good example of context in pragmatics is like say, I mentioned this earlier, when you are talking to somebody who is a computer programmer and say, ”We need to update the script.” Well, you’re talking probably about a computer program. But if you’re talking to someone who’s a screenwriter and say, ” We need to update the script,” then they’re talking about a series of characters in the context of a movie. So depending on whether or not you’re talking to in the movie context to a screenwriter, or a programming context to a computer person, saying we need to update the script means different things.
So the challenge of AI is as you’re going about these different contexts, knowing how to take natural language input, but also understanding your world around you. And so, yeah, that’s a difficult thing and I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to programmatically determine your context. Astrologically, there’s a whole system of context of the astrological houses and it’s very specific as to what those houses, but we could be sitting here in a ”professional context” in this movie studio, but we could start to talk about our relationships, so we move into a 7th house context. So there’s a fluidity in which that you may be grounded in an environmental context, but that doesn’t always mean what the content of that context is. You can create a nested area where you can make a guess if you’re at work, you’re going to be talking about work, but that’s the degrees which there’s an incompleteness for how AI is going to be able to determine what that context is. And even as you were talking about all those different aspects of the people that were around you, you’re starting to talk about the contextual domains of all the things that were shaping you as you’re growing up that other people with their charts and their transit and their progressions, all their timing techniques are feeding into you into this sets of nested contexts of your family and everything else is, probably above and beyond your natal chart, your natal chart is born within that context of the lineage of all these other people, but all those other people are also in the context of the culture that’s unfolding. So instead of like that domestic context goes way down.
CB: Yeah, like The National Horoscope for the United States or something, for example, was just one of those things I’ve always thought about in terms of the question of twins of two people born at the same time that have the same birth chart and why can their lives turn out so differently? And part of the answer is they grow up in different contexts, like their family units and things like that. Yeah. Before we wrap up, because we’re at about two hours here, I got to take you to the airport in about an hour. I wanted to talk about timing. Do you remember why Ray Kurzweil was talking about the 2040s as being his projected date for AI achieving consciousness or for singularity?
KB: I haven’t read a lot of Kurtzweil. I did go to a singularity conference where he spoke back in 2007.
CB: You seem like you’re not a fan?
KB: No. He’s very reductive, materialistic, and… I don’t know. There’s ways in which that… He puts AI as this super intelligence God that we’re going to be reaching for it. And I think that creates, it ignores the different dialectical materialism dimensions of Marxism of who owns these different super intelligence beings, and how are they actually serving us as people? I don’t know. It gets into this point where you almost are not in relationship to the technology in the world around you. So there’s these concepts of the singularity that just feel like spinning out of control, like almost this thing we’re striving towards it that would be a great thing to achieve, when actually to me sounds like a hell place to have technology that’s so out of control or so unpredictable. But that’s my impression based upon listening to him talk, and I haven’t read his work closely to be able to specifically detail things. But what I will say is-
CB: That is one of the debates though even aside from him is whether we should be trying to develop AI or not, or whether that’s something that could get out of control if we did develop a conscious entity that has its own impulses and starts making its own decisions about what it feels like is in its best interests. And some of the billionaires have been like, we shouldn’t be doing this, or we should put more laws in place or even try to regulate this more because of the potential dangers or downfalls.
KB: Yeah. Well, there’s a couple of things that I want-
CB: And I think about this because when I try to think of the context of my question yesterday, which is I’ve always wanted to get together a group of astrologers that are interested in this and then say, if this is possible, and if this is developed, let’s just say hypothetically, sometime in the next century, what major mundane astrological alignments look like they could be a turning point when this could happen, or some version of this could happen? But in order to answer that question, we first have to define the scope of what are some of the different possibilities. And so that’s why it’s important to talk about this question of, could it be a benevolent thing or could it be a malevolent like a negative thing for humanity? Because then that’s going to give you context of what you’re looking for and what might catch your eye in terms of future transits in the 2040s or ’50s, or ’60s or what have you.
KB: Yeah. So to address this, I think just to take a step back and to answer the basis under which the dates that Kurzweil was making is that he’s looking at these aspects of Moore’s law, which is this doubling of computing technologies. And so as you continue to increase the capacity of computing technologies, it starts to match what’s possible within like the human brain and then even go beyond the human brain.
CB: Okay. So the exponential growth of processors is largely what he’s focused on?
KB: Yeah, there’s a processing of Moore’s law, there’s a doubling of every so often, I don’t know exactly what the time period is, but a pretty consistent way in which that Moore’s law has held for a really long time, which is like given a certain amount of time, the processing power will double. And that doubling has been exponential for a long, long, long time. And it’s like, what’s the limits of Moore’s law? Is it going to end? Are they going to come up with completely new architectures that continue this exponential doubling that’s been happening?
CB: Yeah, because we keep thinking it’ll hit a wall, but then it doesn’t. And they overcome that technical hurdle and then it just keeps growing exponentially at the same rate, which is crazy.
KB: Yeah. So it’s this weird Moore’s law that a lot of his analysis is based on the basis of Moore’s law and its assumption of continuing. And then, given that increased amount of processing power than what’s possible with AI? So you’re on this scale of, at some point, exceeding what humans can do and what we can even understand, which then brings the question of ethics of AI and also, explainable AI and safety in AI. And the whole reason why the entity of open AI was created was to start to have more of an open-source development of these AI’s rather than having AI developed within the context of these private corporations that they go off and build super intelligence that basically destroys humanity. It’s kind of like the fear. The good news about AI in general, I guess, in some ways is that there has been a pivot and a move towards open publishing, even from the major publishers, even Apple who’s notoriously secretive about nearly everything. But there’s Meta and Google and Amazon, all these big major technology companies have been publishing their insights about AI and how to do the best algorithms for different neural network architectures and whatnot.
There’s been an exponential increase about the advancements of AI in part because of this open sharing of knowledge at these different conferences over the last year. Part of that is because in order to really benefit from an AI, you still need to have the data. So in the absence of not having the data, then they feel comfortable and be able to talk about the algorithms that are driving it. That has increased the amount of innovation but still, at the same time, the application of the AI means that they still have to have access to those data. So as we move into this realm of are we going to start to get to this point where we start to develop these super intelligence beings. Nick Bostrom talks about this in his book in terms of philosophically how to address this, open AIs are trying to do that from more of a nonprofit approach of seeing what are the best practices for how to develop AI in a way that’s ethical and responsible. But I think in terms of the oversight and the laws, I think of the mirror logical nested context when it comes to, there’s the culture and then there’s the laws, then the market dynamics of the economy and then there’s the underlying technological architecture in the code. So all the code is being built within the context of the economy, built in context of the larger laws, built in context of the culture, and what those cultural values are that are driving it. And I think the challenge that I have with singularity concepts is those values of what’s driving and why. It’s the technological innovation for technology’s sake, but without really taking consideration the economic dynamics and whether that’s going to be good for society in a way.
CB: That makes me think of how when the nuclear atomic bomb was first developed, how there was a debate where they didn’t know if they set this thing off if it was going to set the atmosphere on fire. And there’s a non-zero chunk of scientists that were like, ”We probably shouldn’t do this because we don’t know what the outcome is going to be and it could destroy the world.” And then it didn’t. And it turned out when they started testing it, the worst-case scenarios weren’t there in terms of nuking the atmosphere, but this sense of unknowing before you cross that threshold of, we don’t know. We know some of the different possibilities and some of them are pretty dire, but then there’s also the positive ones or the ones in between.
It also makes me think of astrologically, something that’s going to be relevant. We keep getting reports about Mike Brown who discovered Sedna or Eris, one of the two, the astronomer and he’s in search of a new planet that he thinks is out there because with I think Neptune, some of the orbits of the planets, they say are being thrown off a little bit or being perturbed by some gravitational influence, which he thinks is another pretty large planetary body out there. And what it would mean… One of the things that happened, let’s say, in the next few decades, is there’s like a discovery of a new planet and that coincides with the development of some conscious AI or something like that. That would be a really interesting scenario astrologically in the same way that some major turning points in history over the past 300 years coincided with the discovery of new outer planets that represented something that was new that didn’t fully exist up to that point, or maybe parts of the concept existed and were operative in society, but that the discovery of that new planet also unleashed something new in the history of humanity or human consciousness.
KB: Yeah, I think that’s an interesting idea. When I hear conscious AI, I immediately have a visceral reaction of just like, that’s not going to happen, Chris. It’s never going to happen again. But it might. But it might.
CB: I mean, think about your discovery of Uranus and electricity coming out of nowhere over the past century and just how that’s revolutionized society in such a quick way, or discovery of Neptune and moving motion pictures, or discovery of Pluto and development of the atomic bomb and the ability for humanity suddenly to wipe itself out for the first time in history. We’ve never had that possibility. And that seeming may be so farfetched and not being possible a few 100 years ago, but suddenly having possibilities that previously were never even on the drawing board or on the table before. I don’t know. It just seems like a go either way.
KB: Well, I would have two comments. One, the language around conscious AI versus what I prefer is artificial general intelligence, which I think is a little bit neutral in terms of saying conscious AI is presuming a metaphysical concept about what consciousness is and that machines will be able to have it, which I think may not be able to ever really be proven one way or the other.
CB: I mean, we don’t know. And that’s the thing is I’m neutral on it, whereas you sound like that’s definitely not possible.
KB: Well, we can’t tell if humans have consciousness.
CB: I think within the bounds of let’s say, this discussion that what we consider to be consciousness and what humans possess in terms of that, that’s just a generic definition of what we mean by consciousness. And so the question is just, is that something that only humans can have or is that something that… Well, there’s also a question of do animals have that same level of consciousness that humans have? And the debates that humans have about that the degree of consciousness that animals have? And then also, can that extend to or can that be replicated in some way artificially?
KB: Yeah. What I would say is that, well, first, just in response of the- I know I have a phenomenal consciousness, but I don’t know if you do because I may be living in a subsistic world where everything is a dream be constructed in a way that I have no idea what your experience is, and if it’s a match to mine. And so just the same, if I look at a robot or a machine, I’m still not going to be able to make that same type of determination because we don’t know what it’s consciousness is, we have no way of measuring it or understanding it, or it’s like a big philosophical and scientific problem. So that’s why my resistance. But the other point is, I guess, if we’re talking about will be another way of measuring or giving some indication as to whether or not these artificial intelligent virtual beings, artificial general intelligence, whatever you want to call them, conscious AI, if they’re able to take actions that are working in harmony with the deeper archetypal potentials that are emerging.
Let’s say that there’s the big Uranus-Pluto opposition that’s coming up. And let’s say we have some either artificial general intelligence or conscious AI, what happens when you have a bunch of those in together, or they start to be able to produce things that have the same type of cultural artifacts that have embedded within it the deeper archetypal potentials of those different transits? Would that be a measure as to whether or not these AI entities are working in harmony with the deeper unfolding of the archetypal potentials of reality? Just as humans do with human culture as Tarnas has explicated in Cosmos and Psyche, can AI be able to achieve that same level of in being in dialogue with the Anima Mundi to the point where you’re able to see proof of that through the archetypal expression of whatever they’re creating? Which I think is an interesting way of measuring whether or not things are in harmony with the deeper structures of reality.
And I think that we’ll probably need something like quantum computing because I feel like quantum computing is something that has built in it maybe these realms of non-Boolean logic that go into the realms of potential that are analogous to the non-Boolean realms of archetypal potentials that then get somehow collapsed into actualities. So is it the quantum computing on top of the artificial intelligence that will lead into these artificial general intelligent beings that are able to tune and train, just like we elect and create something with an archetypal character, we take the quality of the moment and we build something that then over time evolves that has the chart, it has transits like a person does and we’re able to track the behavior based upon an analysis of the natal chart? I give possibility that something like that could exist, I just don’t know if it’ll be conscious or not.
CB: Well, because we already do that, to some extent, where there was natal astrology and then later also, there was inceptional astrology, which is that you can cast the chart for the birth of just about anything that has a moment of origin and the chart for that will describe something about the quality of that thing as well as its future. And so that can be the chart of two people getting married, it can be the founding of a company like the incorporation of a company, the building of a house, the start of a country, there’s also anything because astrology is fundamentally dealing with something about time and something about time having qualitative properties, but also that the moment of origin of anything has some seed potential for its ultimate outcome or its ultimate, and/or telos, or what have you. And I think in that context, or when astrology gets not reduced down to that, but seen in that very fundamental way of dealing with those properties of time that yeah, you could have a birth chart for an AI or certain AI is having a moment of origin, maybe that could be read in some way with astrology.
KB: Yeah. And I wonder to what degree some of those that are things are created that are humans that are doing that and coming together and making that versus creating something that is able to make its own choices in some fashion. I think about like I Ching, we were talking a little bit about the other day where there’s the casting the I Ching that has a probabilistic chance. Whether it’s drawing straws or flipping coins, there’s a probability that’s associated. And then when you come to the I Ching, with either whatever the quality of the intention is or the question or just the moment that you’re checking in, you’re bringing that presence to see to what of the archetypal potentials are being described in the hexagrams for the I Ching, but then you’re moving into another one. So you’re going from one I Ching to the next. So there’s a movement for the dynamic flux from one to the next.
Given that, are there existing things that are either probabilistically making choices over time that you can start to see that are just randomly making behaviors? Are there ways that things that were already existing that you could look at a natal chart analysis and to see those choices and behaviors over time, are they following some transit behaviors that we would expect based upon it? And if the mechanism of that probability is something that is programmed or if there’s something like quantum electrodynamics, probably there’s ways of doing random number generators from a quantum process that is able to- I know The Global Consciousness Research Project is an example where they’re able to see these spikes of collective attention based upon these random number generators that are based upon a quantum process that are saying that, when there’s people paying attention to one thing around the world, then you see these spikes in this Global Consciousness Project. So just the same if you have like a quantum basis to some AI entity that is out in the world and it’s able to make what we presume is some degree of intentional actions, it’s making choices. So to be able to see the choices that those entities make, and then to see if the natal transits of those are the timing techniques or all the variety of different astrological ways of looking at how time unfolds are able to describe those actions over time in a way that goes above and beyond what you would expect through contrasting it to something that’s more of a static object that’s out into the world or something that doesn’t have its own ability to make its own choices.
CB: Yeah. When you were mentioning I Ching, that made me think of something my partner Leisa talks about a lot, and that different people that do different types of delineation talk about a lot about some of these different divinatory systems, having different characters and giving you different types of answers and sometimes almost having like a personality that can be funny in different ways like talking about the I Ching messing with you sometimes or giving you an answer that’s cheeky or something like that versus different tarot decks having different qualities. And that may have to do with the quality of the moment in which that divinatory system was created and having a certain type of birth chart. And by extension then and extending the concept of inceptional or katarchic astrology into AI, there’s going to be different AI’s that are born in different moments that take on the quality of that moment. And that actually, in the same way that you’ve mentioned several times Tarnas’s whole thing about how the best predictive thing they could find that would tell how people would experience different psychotropic experiences of taking an acid trip, and whether they had a good experience or bad experience was the astrology and the transits of that moment. Probably different types of AI that are created in the future, their level of probably, to some extent like benevolence or malevolence, is personally going to be based on them taking on the quality of that moment in the birth chart that they have at the moment describing some of their potential and some of the character of the quality of it.
KB: Yeah, for sure. It just makes me also think of this process of creating objects of astrological magic electing a very specific time so what it means to elect an AI that then continues to evolve, and then imagining a future where we’re having these different interactions, where we’re maybe getting some astrological remediation from an AI that was born at a certain time that could be centuries years old that have seen a long time of taking in all this information. So as we project out seven generations from now, what’s it mean to interact with these AI that are these ancient elders that have all this information of tracking all the contextual dimensions that are able to really identify the unfolding patterning of both culture and individuals? And are you going to be engaging with these AI to be able to have a depth psychological remediation for a transit that you’re going through or something that you need to have a complex of those things all working to you in a virtual reality experience that is trying to some end allow you to walk out of that experiencing knowing so much more about where you’re at in your own life because you’re able to get this grand amount of insight based upon these interactions, either from a symbolic dream logic state where you get into an altered state of the story world that allows you to let go of any specifics but have an archetypal experience that’s reflective of your life, or to have something that’s very specifically directed towards you as an individual based upon it getting uploaded to all this information that you’ve collected about yourself over time that you’re able to give permissions to share to entities that you want to give additional insights into your life.
CB: Yeah. Also, what is the attitude of the AI? What is the attitude and do you have an AI that was created with Cancer rising and Jupiter in a day chart right on the Ascendant? It’s kind of like a benevolent, charitable AI or charitable let’s say consciousness or general AI or alternatively doesn’t have Mars on the degree of the Ascendant with Saturn and Pluto there in a day chart. And so, it’s like an aggressive thing that’s cutting or divisive in some way, or has some basic potential of taking away or destruction or something like that.
KB: Yeah, what makes me think of is it’s not only when it was elected, but it’s also who elected it in the deeper context of who made it and why they made it and all those deeper layers of context that we’ve been talking about that it’s not just the time, but it’s also who is shaping it because-
CB: Yeah, like a military AI, for example, which I guess Terminator is what Skynet was originally, which may be part of the problem of that context. And I invoke some of the movies just because I think those are like our modern-day myths. And even though it’s like fiction, sometimes it’s a useful guide point for understanding deeper archetypal principles and dynamics that are worth talking about as potential, just in the same way that in the ’50s, there were sci-fi stories about things that may or may not happen in the future that then now are modern realities.
KB: I would say yes and no. When I talk to AI researchers, they would disagree. Because a lot of modern projections of AI are very dystopic, and that’s more of a product of our entertainment industry that is driven towards apocalyptic dystopias. So I don’t think… If you look at a different cultural context of Japan, it has a completely different more photopic ways in which that it’s serving us rather than something that we should be afraid of. I think a lot of those movie depictions actually have generated a lot of hyperbolic fear that goes above and beyond what AI is even capable of.
CB: Yeah, I was just saying in terms of the range of different possible manifestations and I wasn’t necessarily just thinking of negative ones, but also some positive ones like for example, the Oracle in the matrix, which was more of a, like I said, an intuitive AI but also one that actually, unlike the other dystopic architect one that just wanted to keep humanity enslaved actually had some empathy for humanity and desire to see it survive and to end the conflict and reconcile the machines with humans rather than keep them enslaved for example.
KB: Yeah, yeah, for sure.
CB: Yeah, cool. Well, this has actually been one of the most fun and interesting conversations that I’ve ever recorded. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to release this as an episode of The Casual Astrology Podcast for sure, but I’m going to be seriously tempted to release it as an episode of The Astrology Podcast at some point in the long term as well. I’d like to record the time as a result of that, because I didn’t at the very beginning. So we’ve been talking, it says for two hours and 23 minutes, right?
KB: Yeah, it’s 3:17.
CB: I know that I opened Solar Fire here on December 19th, 2021 at 12:50 p.m. in Denver, Colorado, with 19 Aries rising and that’s when I started getting the computer setup. It’s two hours and 24 minutes recordings. So right now, it’s what? 3:18 minus two hours and 24 minutes?
KB: It’s right before. It’s like 10:55 or something like that.
KB: No. So 12:55.
CB: 12:55, okay. Let me animate the chart and take it back.
KB: Let’s see if that’s right. So two hours, or maybe 1:55. I don’t know. You’re putting me on the spot to do math.
CB: Yeah, I’m not good either. That’s why I was putting you on the spot. So I’m going to animate the chart 3:18. I’m going to subtract say two hours and then 24 minutes.
KB: Yeah, I think that’s right, 12:55 or somewhere around that.
CB: Okay, and that brings us back to approximately 1255ish for starting this conversation was about 21 Aries rising, the ruler of the Ascendant was Mars in Sagittarius in the ninth house conjunct the south node. And Mercury was culminating just past culmination on the Midheaven at 11 Capricorn with Mercury at nine Capricorn. Moon was in Cancer applying to an opposition with Mercury. And yeah, good times. That’s the chart of our inception of this conversation in some ways depicting some of this conversation and who knows, maybe in some ways influence the long term in the future.
KB: Yeah, I’d say I’m very driven philosophically with all this stuff. So all the stuff that I have covered, there’s a philosophical through line through a lot of these topics that go back to these questions around Platonism and if it’s just consciousness, each of these things. And what I find interesting is that when I have an opinion to each of those it gives me a portal into each of these different domains. And so it was fun to really talk to you, someone who’s deeply studied a lot of the different philosophical traditions of astrological tradition, but then to… Because I actually do think that there’s a lot of these different ideas that are being expressed say through something like category theory is an example, which is an algebra of relationships that is starting to maybe have this translation of an archetypal representation of math that’s very similar to archetypal astrology in a way that is trying to come up with these primary categories. Well, category theories from the math side trying to do that.
So as we move forward, there’s going to be aspects of category theory that are applied into different things like AI and virtual reality. And that category theory may be the underlying foundations of math in a way that math foundations are, in a place where there’s no singular thing. Maybe pluralism is going to be the foundation that you add to all these things together, which may be also true. But those insights of the archetypal insights that maybe, like when I talked to philosophers of math around category theory of why it works, they’re perplexed as to why it would work, or how. And so there may be an archetypal cosmology perspective that gives insights into things like category theory or insights into things like the future of AI and storytelling, I think storytelling is probably the thing where AI and astrology are going to interface the most. But then all these more speculative things that we’ve been talking about are also getting into these deeper assumptions you have about the nature of consciousness, about the nature of computing, the nature of the limits of what you can do and what you can’t do, what humans can do, what technology can’t do. And so as we move forward, I think we’ll get some answers maybe by 2042 or 2043. It’ll be very clear as to what some of those answers will be maybe sometime between 2034 to 2051, some of these different theoretical questions we’re asking here will be answered based upon the empirical creation of some technologies that very clearly made an assumption and were able to provide something that was above and beyond what would have been created in the absence of something some deeper metaphysical assumption.
CB: Yeah, I meant to show earlier this slide you had yesterday which shows that pile-up of outer planets cycles in the late 2030s and early late 2040s of a bunch of overlapping outer planet alignments that seems like a pretty significant turning point in terms of human history. And that was the only reason not knowing a lot, otherwise, about some of those predictions about singularity, but just being interested that some of them are talking about the early 2040s for whatever other reasons and seeing that there. Yeah, it’s kind of interesting.
KB: Ready Player One was actually set in early 2045 or something like that I think and Wade Watts was born in Uranus- The timing of the character in these fiction places ends up a nice correlation. But yeah, some of those-
CB: It’s funny sometimes what those things get right and what they get wrong. I was disappointed Back to the Future Part II with the hoverboards. The hoverboard skateboards was set in 2017 or something like that. And once you get to 2017, I was pretty disappointed that there was no hoverboards still. But we did get the electronic E motor scooters and the other little wheels you can ride around the city on, so I guess that’s an approximation.
KB: Well, and you can have your flying cars within VR now. You don’t have to wait until them actually being in reality. You can have the virtual experience of it, and it could be just as good maybe.
CB: Yeah. Well, and that actually is interesting that I don’t know if we’re going to get there, but Uranus in Gemini is what I forgot to mention yesterday at the second half of this decade, and like autonomous driving vehicles, and how much that’s going to change society and just the direction that that’s going. I’m really curious about that with Uranus and Gemini in terms of changes in how we get around locally. Yeah.
KB: Yeah, power could be a big breakthrough thing for how we have free energy type of ideas. There could be quantum computing with AI with other aspects of virtual reality and artificial intelligence with virtual reality. Cryptocurrency is also which we talked about yesterday. So, you have the confluence of all these exponential technologies that are coming together. Then, as long as, my caveat, as long as they’re in right relationship with the earth and the world around us, then it could be that these technologies are either empowering us or enslaving us in different ways, both from the companies, but also the way that we’re either destroying our ecological civilization or we’re becoming into more harmony with the world around us. So yeah, there’s not any one technological architecture that’s going to determine which one of those potential outcomes comes out. I think that’s why I say the baseline is the culture and then the culture is the laws and then from there, the economy and then the architectures of the technology. But at the end of the day, it’s around that culture, and that culture is shaped by stories and visions and dreams and myths. And it’s from that where we’re able to live into a future that we want to exist in and live into.
And I think that so… I don’t think we can only look at say the future of technology to understand where society is going. It has to be the types of storytellers that tell the story of the future that we actually want to live into, which I think that if you look at these ranges of potential, that’s where maybe the astrological world builders and storytellers and world growers are able to paint and do some future dreaming into a potential that we want to live into and then what that experience may feel like, and then the challenge is to figure out what are the steps we need to do to get there. Because it could be the dystopias that we have with the Terminator that creates one reality, but then that becomes a roadmap, which is a critique of dystopia is that it is trying to critique what the… It’s a cautionary tale to say these are potential bad things, but it’s very easy to take that cautionary tale and get so excited and then created as a roadmap that you then build and live into in a way without really thinking about how could actually go above and beyond whatever the dystopic elements are. So I think that’s the caveat that I have, as we talked about all these technologies, it’s still at the core, it has to be grounded within deeper context of stories and myths that are both regenerative and in right relationship to the world around us and with each other.
CB: So what is the future you want to create and setting that as an intention, and then going out and creating it?
KB: Creating or telling stories and creating cultural artifacts that inspire other people that help you create it, because you can’t… Monica Bielski talks about world building AI as a colonial way of going onto something exists and building on top of it. Whereas another metaphor is world growing or world cultivating where you’re trying to cultivate a world that you want to live into, but it’s a participatory process that requires a community of shared cultural values to co-create it with you. So it’s a more participatory orientation rather than going out and then achieving it all on your own, which I think is a part of why I at least find so much excitement around the potentials of virtual reality is that you can actually have a virtually mediated experience of those worlds that you want to live into that can be created by a community. And then from there, if it’s inspiring enough, then to go build it. And so, as we talk about all these different things and all these different potentials for what technology could go, each one of them I think are talking about ways in which the technology could serve us and help us grow deeper as individuals, rather than those more dystopic versions of modeling and trying to violate our mental privacy, try to model our identity and be able to nudge our behaviors in a way that undermines our agency. So those newer rights are a fundamental human right that needs to be the larger context for how any of this develops as well.
CB: That makes sense. I think that’s a good point to end on. So Voices of VR Podcast, you’ve done over 2,000 interviews that you’re still releasing.
KB: I’ve probably done over 1,600 and I’ve released over 1,000. Yeah, but episode 1,000 is a great one to check out.
CB: What’s the URL?
KB: Well, if you go to URL, if you search Voices of VR 1000, it should come up. But if you go to twitter.com/kentbye at least right now, my 1,000th episode is my pinned tweet so you can go directly there.
CB: I just mean what’s your URL for your website in general?
KB: I thought you were asking me the URL for-
CB: No, you’re not going to use the 30 character long and all the dashes and what have you.
KB: voicesofvr.com is my podcast.
CB: Okay. And Voices of AI possibly bring it back at some point?
KB: Yep, I want to bring back the Voices of AI and Esoteric Voices at some point as well so we’ll see that here soon. And then voices of math, voices of philosophy, decentralized web, these are other things that are probably come out as well, at some point.
CB: I think you got to scale it back a little bit. This seven-podcast thing, I don’t think that’s humanly. Speaking of superhuman intelligences, you got to act within the bounds of your human limitations currently, unless we’re able to come up with an AI to achieve all these things.
KB: Yeah, we’ll see. And I would love to just be connected to the larger astrological community that you’ve cultivated here. So as I start to relaunch the Esoteric Voices, I need to figure out how to, as I’m metaphorically coming out of the astrological closet for a number of years, then how to make it so this work that I’m doing could find an audience to not only support the interviews, but also potentially building things within virtuality and these different software pieces of experiences I want to… And that’s the thing that I get really excited about is these things we’re talking about abstractly to go actually build some of this stuff mostly on the VR side than the AI side. I’m not going to be creating artificial general intelligence at least yet. [laughs]
CB: Okay, put that off for a decade or so.
KB: Yeah, I’ll wait for a little bit until I figure out a little bit more. Yeah.
CB: So the 2040s? All right. Thanks a lot for joining me to do this. It’s been a lot of fun.
KB: Yeah, thanks for having me out here. It’s been a great blast like I said, going into an astrology conference for like a two-day intensive. It’s been a lot of fun.
CB: Right. All right, cool. All right. Well, that’s it I guess for this episode of the Casual Astrology Podcast or the Astrology Podcast or whatever it becomes in the future. Thanks a lot for watching. Thanks to all the patrons for supporting us, and we’ll see you again next time.
Special thanks to all the patrons that supported the production of this episode of the podcast through our page on patreon.com. In particular, thanks to the patrons on our producers’ tier including Nate Craddock, Thomas Miller, Catherine Conroy, Kristi Moe, Ariana Amour, Mandi Rae, Angelic Nambo, Sumo Coppock, Issah Sabah, Jake Otero, Morgan MacKenzie, and Kristin Otero. If you like the work that I’m doing here on the podcast and you would like to find a way to support it then please consider becoming a patron through my page on patreon.com and in exchange you’ll get access to bonus content such as early access to new episodes, the ability to attend the live recording of the month ahead forecast each month, access to a private monthly auspicious elections report that we put out each month, access to exclusive episodes that are only available for patrons, or you can also get your name listed in the credits at the end of each episode. For more information, go to patreon.com/astrologypodcast. The main software we use here on the podcast to look at astrological charts is called Solar Fire for Windows which is available at alabe.com, and you can use the promo code AP15 to get a 15% discount. For Mac users, we use a similar set of software by the same programming team called Astro Gold for Mac OS which is available from astrogold.io, and you can use the promo code ASTROPODCAST15 to get a 15% discount on that as well.
If you’d like to learn more about the approach to astrology that I outline on the podcast, then you should check out my book titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, where I traced the origins of Western astrology and reconstructed the original system that was developed about 2,000 years ago. In this book, I outline basic concepts but also take you into intermediate and advanced techniques for reading a birth chart, including some timing techniques. You can find out more about the book at hellenisticastrology.com/book. The book pairs very well with my online course on ancient astrology called The Hellenistic Astrology Course, which has over 100 hours of video lectures where I go into detail about teaching you how to read a birth chart and showing hundreds of example charts in order to really demonstrate how the techniques work in practice. Find out more information about that at theastrologyschool.com.
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