I’m typing in a bed, at 39,000ft, on my way to San Francisco, invited and sponsored by a tech behemoth. This is my first taste of business class travel, something that I am sure that I could get used to.

With little notice, this tech company asked me to talk about my experience of the consensus-building AI tech I use – Polis – and my non-profit organisation, the Crowd Wisdom Project, which also runs the Harrogate District Consensus. In this age of (supposed) polarisation, easy to find consensuses could be the cure.

Following an impressive four-course meal – on a plane! – I’m now browsing the internet – on a plane! – firing emails, preparing for the meeting and writing this blog.

Re-reading the (in)famous Techno-Optimist Manifesto of 2023 (it’s worth a read), I was struck by the following paragraph:

“Deaths that were preventable by the AI that was prevented from existing is a form of murder.”

Despite its clunkiness, that’s the most interesting, mind-messing sentence I’ve ever read. Hindering the development of AI, particularly in a medical context, is to guarantee the deaths of millions of people who could have survived. You know what, I agree with that troubling premise.

And in terms of political polarisation and its impact on democracy, one could re-write the sentence as follows:

“Unnecessary political polarisation (which damages society; degrades our faith in our fellow man; and thereby undermines our democracies) that was preventable by the AI that was prevented from existing, is a form of Ludditism, extreme conservatism, and gross negligence on an international scale.” A. Gray.

May I be on the right side of this AI issue.

(If you are in a group – any group – of more than ten people and you want to anonymously collate all the best ideas within the group and then build a consensus around it, please get in touch. If you’re a know-it-all, dictatoriak-type, closed to new ideas, let’s not waste each other’s time.)