The Heart Makes the Difference

I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.

— Carl Sandburg

Modern life moves us along at a steady clip, it’s just not certain where we are heading… or where we will land. Change in the technological era is exponential, it seems. Change and progress aren’t one and the same, however.


We can all rally around the desire for progress, right?

How do we define it though? All the “advances” characteristic of our time seem to have just as much potential for harm as they do good.

From the annals of dangerous new technology comes a warning cry: “we are not being proactive enough” to avoid big mistakes. (Joseph Palermo, machine learning specialist, Ted talk on Deep Fakes).

Deep Fake Files: VOICE

Palermo’s message: the time is here when AI and Deep Fake technologies can be trained to mimic our voices with the science of pattern recognition and re-creation by machines (machine learning).

“Whenever you speak publicly you make yourself vulnerable to future manipulation of this sort.”

If data is acquired from large enough recordings and transcripts, deep fake advances make it, “far too easy to tarnish a reputation or destabilize a democracy.”

The age-old art of large-scale political manipulation has a new tool. Phishing scammers have to be paying attention to the new possibilities.

“Imagine someone you know gets a phone call from someone or something that sounds exactly like you.” Our voices are among the most unique aspects of ourselves.

“We have a lot of work to do collectively,” admits Palermo.

Mediated Reality

Our ability to trust empiric sensory input is declining more and more. The illusion of our lives deepens through mediated reality. This isn’t new. This has been the story of life in the modern age ever since the printing press made daily newspapers possible. Radio, then television greatly advanced the complexity of reality mediation (“media”). Now machine learning is bringing the next level of complexity.


The insider solution: machine learning can be taught to detect deep fakes. Hooray! (sarcasm alert). The lowly human is saved from the robot intelligence by the robot intelligence. We can just keep being entertained by the robots and not worry.

Comfort is the enemy of progress. This age, like any other, needs our activity.

The Heart Makes the Difference

My suggested solution: our powers of alertness and discernment must grow stronger. They must be trained. Education must focus on this (Steiner’s six exercises are the prototype). The ability to detect if something has “light” to it or if it’s “shady” is a feeling that we all know at least a little, and we all can train. Some people refer to it as heart-based thinking. It’s how we differ from machines. They can out-think us, but our human-ness can be found when we emphasize the heart power that we use to enhance our thinking: the power of discernment, compassion, and warmth.

Training your brain is the path to optimal health.

From this perspective, if machine learning acts as a stimulus for growth, then it’s good.

If it exploits our laziness, then it’s bad.

It’s up to us, as always.

You Matter

Defining progress depends on how well we have identified the goal. Then we can see if we are progressing towards it.

The place to start is with your definite area of expertise: YOURSELF! You probably never need to leave this arena. It’s a potent area of focus. You can accomplish it all by stabilizing the home base. It’s potentially the only field of action there is.

If there is to be peace in the cities, There must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, There must be peacein the home. If there is to be peace in the home, There must be peace in the heart.

— Lao-tse