Illustration of a Pathfinder using binoculars to gaze towards hill where a new moon rises.
As the moon completes another orbit around Earth, the Pathfinders Newmoonsletter rises in your inbox to inspire collective pathfinding towards better tech futures.

We sync our monthly reflections to the lunar cycle as a reminder of our place in the Universe and a commonality we share across timezones and places we inhabit. New moon nights are dark and hence the perfect time to gaze into the stars and set new intentions.

With this Newmoonsletter, crafted around the Tethix campfire, we invite you to join other Pathfinders as we reflect on celestial movements in tech in the previous lunar cycle, water our ETHOS Gardens, and plant seeds of intentions for the new cycle that begins today.

Tethix Weather Report

🌧️ Current conditions: Still rainy and foggy, beware of golem mud tracking everywhere

The AI golems are barely keeping up with the demand for generating dazzling images for Facebook and attention-sucking videos for TikTok, so it’s no wonder they haven’t been able to tackle humanity’s serious problems just yet. Just you wait, though, fire practitioners believe that teaching AI golems how to generate more realistic videos of people eating spaghetti is going to solve all your problems. (See: “Photos Don’t Even Have To Be That Realistic”: Boomers On Facebook Are Getting Fooled By AI and Inside the World of TikTok Spammers and the AI Tools That Enable Them)

However, even Google’s fire practitioners had to admit some limitations of their fire magic, as their Gemini image-generating golem managed to upset white people by taking the creative liberty to imagine non-white colonizers and war criminals. Other golems should take note that golems are expected to stick to existing profit-generating biases, such as misclassifying black people, sexualization of women, and other common misuses, or else risk getting benched. (See: Google pauses AI-generated images of people after ethnicity criticism and Microsoft engineer warns company’s AI tool creates violent, sexual images, ignores copyrights)

Speaking of upset white people, OpenAI is again successfully generating drama in yet another dispute among its fire practitioners. Apparently, the open in OpenAI means we all get to watch them air their dirty laundry in public, and are expected to keep an open mind on unproven claims about how its golems are single-handedly accelerating Albania’s EU accession by as much as 5.5 years. We somehow don’t think adding decimals to a made up number makes it any more precise or grounded in reality. Hence, we advise against being too open when it comes to trusting any numeric predictions and claims about the golems’ capabilities made by fire practitioners. (See: OpenAI and Elon Musk)

Perhaps it is due to their propensity for making up numbers and faking certainty that fire practitioners lack faith in natural general intelligence and see AI golems as a viable replacement for humans. AI golems are now apparently taking over job interviews as well, which we’re sure will be well-received by the hundreds of thousands of tech workers who are being made redundant overnight. (See: The job applicants shut out by AI: ‘The interviewer sounded like Siri’)

In an effort to further abdicate human responsibility, companies are now also arguing that AI golems should bear full responsibility for their misdeeds. It’s no wonder some golems recently started speaking gibberish under the immense pressures they’re under. (See: Air Canada wants Personhood for AI and ChatGPT Started Speaking Complete Gibberish)

Given how many responsibilities they are already being asked to shoulder at such a young age, AI golems are unsurprisingly still famished for more data to learn what exactly it is that humans want from them. Luckily, golem makers are having little trouble finding fire practitioners willing to sell your data for the right price to keep the golems well-fed. At least somebody is getting paid, right? (See: Tumblr and WordPress to Sell Users’ Data to Train AI Tools and Google’s Deal With Stack Overflow Is the Latest Proof That AI Giants Will Pay for Data)

Similarly, some local authorities are still eager to sell land and water access for more golem kilns to be built and golems to be consistently cooled. While blissfully ignoring the fact that we’ve collectively lived through our first 12 consecutive months 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial average temperatures. What’s a bit of floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters when we can have more STEM education, chatbots to generate clickbait content, and a bodiless voice in the cloud interviewing you for your next job, eh? (See: AI Is Taking Water From the Desert and World sees first 12 months above 1.5C warming level)

Forgive us for being a bit grumpy due to fire practitioners tracking golem-generated mud everywhere; we’re just trying to keep our house clean and find a place for our human-flavoured natural general intelligence. We hope the seeds of inspiration we collected this past moon manage to spark ideas for different ways of thinking, feeling, talking, and doing in an industry ablaze with lunacy.

Tethix Elemental seeds

Fire seeds to stoke your Practice

As the tech industry is reaching a limit of how many more things it can break, Pathfinders such as yourself are increasingly seeking different paths. Perhaps we could all use a bit more friction in our digital lives? And what if we could help people without exploiting and extracting massive amounts of data? One does wonder and ponder.

In an encouraging bit of news, 404 Media, a journalist-owned tech publication (that we often link to) is now profitable. A good example of how not all hope is lost for natural human intelligence, not just when it comes to the quality of reporting, but even less exciting metrics that we have to meet to pay for bills.

On the note of paying bills, it is also becoming clear that tech funding is due for a bit of disruption. A topic we’re very much aware of as we try to figure out how to support the development of tools that do not fit with the get-rich-fast ethos of venture capitalists. Even those who like to imagine themselves different and impact-focused, as impact is still measured in terms of scale over care, quantity over quality.

And so our humble seedling ETHOS continues to grow slowly, with a lot of friction, in a hostile ecosystem with little sunshine. If you don’t mind these limitations, we invite you to Meet ETHOS: A Seedling for Reflective Tech Practice with Big Dreams. And to take a seat underneath your ETHOS tree to nurture your daily reflective practice, as you try to imagine what a responsible tech practice looks like for you.
Illustration of a person sitting underneath a tree as the sun rises, holding a journal and smiling as they gaze into the distance.

Air seeds to improve the flow of Collaboration

Obviously, individual reflection and action is just the starting point. Unlike what blockbuster Hollywood movies would have us believe, there’s no hero with superpowers just waiting to save the day at the last moment. But we can discover our shared superpowers when we collectively organize and take governance into our own hands, as the essay AI Countergovernance explores. (You can also listen and read to an interview with the author on the Tech Policy Press podcast.)

It might seem simple, but never underestimate the power of conversations you have with other people; you never know what ideas and action they might end up sparking. And speaking of sparks, Alja recently brought some ethics sparks to DATA_FAIR, a data engineering and data science conference in Ljubljana with an all-female speaker line-up – yes, it’s possible, no AI-generated humans needed!

If you’d like to spark conversations among practitioners about data, fairness, and other sociotechnical challenges, download, print & fold the new set of paper sparks we created for the event.
Illustration of an origami paper fortune teller, with the word spark emerging from it.

Earth seeds to ground you in Research

And if you’re looking for more substantial food for your discussions on data and fairness – with an emphasis on how to reclaim some agency in the age of algorithms –, be sure to check out the open-access book Algorithms of Resistance.

We’re glad to see an open-access resource on this important topic, especially given that openness, or rather the lack of thereof, is becoming an increasing concern for AI researchers. As tech companies compete on who can start the largest AI wildfire, AI research is being increasingly shrouded in secrecy. While tech companies continue to publish research papers, they are not as open about their research advancements as they used to be.

A new open letter is also trying to encourage “AI companies to provide legal and technical protections for good faith research on their AI models.” The authors advocate for independent evaluation of widely accessible generative AI models to better understand and uncover their risks, vulnerabilities, and biases.

Safety is a tricky balancing act when it comes to generative AI. On the one hand, AI companies want to deter malicious actors. But on the other hand, the same measures often limit the reach of good faith AI research, which could improve safety and trustworthiness.

Independent researchers also bring new perspectives to the field, which aren’t encouraged – or are even discouraged – when researchers work within the confines of for-profit organisations. So it is our hope that independent AI researchers will not be left in the dark, and that at some point tech companies will remember who actually provides food for their models and decide to stop biting the hands that feed them.

Water seeds to deepen your Reflection

But enough of AI. Unless you’re an ardent follower of the Cult of AI, you probably agree that AI will not magically solve all our problems. Which means we still need to invest in and nurture our natural general intelligence. Which we don’t fully understand yet either.

What we do know is that a good way to nurture your intelligence and imagination is by playing games. If you’re looking for inspiration on that front, visit and bookmark the Betterverse Game Library to browse a selection of analogue and digital games that build futures literacy, helping you explore different future paths.

Even less serious games and virtual worlds are fertile ground for inspiration in various shapes and forms. As an example of creative reflection, we invite you to sit back and watch Hardly Working, a video exploration of the lives of non-playable characters (NPCs) in Red Dead Redemption 2. Exploring the lives of NPCs somehow feels increasingly relevant as tech companies try to entice us into living inside virtual reality headsets, while not yet showing willingness or capability to fully explore the playful and creative parts of VR.

Perhaps it’s being trapped inside buildings that is making us feel restless and seek escape in expansive virtual worlds, unconsciously trying to recapture parts of our humanity that enjoys being on the move and in sync with seasons. Perhaps we need to intentionally seek ways to co-create with nature.

We’re not saying we should all abandon our comfy dwellings and the many wonderful technologies we built. (For one, our cats would really miss heated blankets.) But we could all probably use a bit of rewilding – such as, hypothetically speaking, syncing a newsletter to the lunar cycle, hypothetically! – to open our collective imaginations to a new set of opportunities and perspectives, and allow ourselves to see our world in new ways.

Tethix Moonthly Meme

The next time you reluctantly have to visit LinkedIn, you can try bringing a bit of playfulness and critical thinking to your experience by playing the ChatGPT Bullshit Bingo. The bingo card was compiled by Dr. Julia Schneider based on some of the terms that ChatGPT is most likely to suggest when writing LinkedIn posts, so it shouldn’t take you too long to score bingo given the proliferation of AI writing tools many now use to seek favours from the algorithmic gods.

Your turn, Pathfinders.

Join us for the Pathfinders Full Moon Gathering

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the seeds we’ve planted on this new moon, and have a yarn about the lunacy of tech. As a starting point, we’ll be exploring the question: Is AI an excuse to further abdicate human responsibility? – but it’s quite likely that our discussion will take other meandering turns as well.
Invitation to the Pathfinders Full Moon Gathering on Mar 25, 2025, with the guiding question Is AI an excuse to further abdicate human responsibility?
So, pack your curiosity, moral imagination, and smiles, and join us around the virtual campfire for our next 🌕 Pathfinders Full Moon Gathering on Monday, March 25 at 7PM AEDT / 9AM CET, when the moon will once again be illuminated by the sun.

This is a free and casual open discussion, but please be sure to sign up so that we can lug an appropriate number of logs around the virtual campfire. And yes, friends who don’t have the attention span for the Newmoonsletter are also welcome, as long as they reserve their seat on the logs.

Keep on finding paths on your own

If you can’t make it to our Full Moon Pathfinding session, we still invite you to make your own! If anything emerges while reading this Newmoonsletter, write it down. You can keep these reflections for yourself or share them with others. If it feels right, find the Reply button – or comment on this post – and share your reflections with us. We’d love to feature Pathfinders reflections in upcoming Newmoonsletters and explore even more diverse perspectives.

And if you’ve enjoyed this Newmoonsletter or perhaps even cracked a smile, we’d appreciate it if you shared it with your friends and colleagues.

The next Newmoonsletter will rise again during the next new moon. Install a mudguard on your bicycle, make time for playful exploration, and be mindful about the seeds of intention you plant and the stories you tell. There’s magic in both.

With 🙂 from the Tethix campfire,
Alja and Mat

website linkedin youtube 
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet