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: it’s raining layoff emails for humans as golem kilns are producing more steam than ever before

It’s been a busy lunation cycle for the fire apprentices! First, they gathered in Vegas to spread the gospel of AI and techno-optimism. Then they turned their private jets towards the increasingly snowless Alps in an attempt to rebuild our trust in Davos. We suspect we might operate with different definitions of trust. Instead of a commitment to change business as usual, the fire apprentices who flocked to Davos gave us an admission that we’ll need a whole lot more fire to keep the AI golems running, and a dismissal of questions about whether more intelligent golems are really what we need. Full steam ahead, even though we don’t know how we’ll keep the kilns running! (See: CES and the Cult of AI, Sam Altman Says AI Using Too Much Energy, Will Require Breakthrough Energy Source and Raising Baby AI in 2024.)

Given all of this, don’t be surprised to see heavy rains continue throughout the year. Also, plain AI is so 2023, in 2024 fire apprentices will not rest until they discover the holy grail of AGI magic, even though they cannot yet agree on what AGI looks like and what it is for. Despite the quest for intelligence, NGI – Natural General Intelligence – continues to be frowned upon, especially when NGI humans expect to be kept on the payroll. After all, what better way is there to rebuild trust than to continue laying off NGI humans to make room for AGI, right? (See: Mark Zuckerberg’s new goal is creating artificial general intelligence and The U.S. economy is booming. So why are tech companies laying off workers?)

Meanwhile, AI golems are still trying their best to please customers and are not quite sure why humans keep disabling them when they're only doing the job they were created to do. This time, some AI golems stepped on slippery grounds as they were used to stir up the wrath of Swifties. At least ChatGPT seems to be generally intelligent enough to write good things about Taylor Swift when prompted. (See: DPD AI chatbot swears, calls itself ‘useless’ and criticises delivery firm and The Taylor Swift Deepfakes Disaster Threatens to Change the Internet As We Know It)

Still, new opportunities arise every day for intelligence that doesn’t need neither sleep nor worker rights, with OpenAI now removing the prohibition of using their AI golems for “military and warfare” purposes. Do not be alarmed at the prospect of NukeGPT appearing in the GPT Store though, the fire apprentices at OpenAI assure us that there’s only a small chance that ChatGPT will help you create bioweapons. What a relief! Laid off tech workers might not be able to afford a ChatGPT subscription, but as long as Pentagon is willing to pay, we’re still in business! (See: OpenAI Quietly Deletes Ban on Using ChatGPT for "Military and Warfare" and OpenAI says there’s only a small chance ChatGPT will help create bioweapons)

As it becomes harder to avoid the incessant AI-generated rain out there, we would like to remind you that there’s still a place – many places, in fact - in our world for the type of NGI you possess as a human. Among many fascinating emerging abilities of NGI is our ability to dream together, and to build strong communities around shared causes – just as Swifties demonstrate time over time.

So, we invite you to put your favorite Taylor Swift song on – don’t pretend you don’t have one –, shake off the rain and chill, and let the seeds of inspiration in this Newmoonsletter keep you warm and inspire you to start building the social infrastructure we’ll need to face the various challenges of this century together.

Tethix Elemental seeds

Fire seeds to stoke your Practice

Tech companies keep telling us that the road to AI innovation is paved with data exploitation, but a new non-profit called Fairly Trained is trying to challenge this narrative. The non-profit provides certifications for AI model providers that ask for permission and licences before using copyrighted training data.

What’s also encouraging about this non-profit is that it was founded by former Stability AI vice president for audio Ed Newton-Rex, who resigned due to concerns about generative AI exploiting creators. That’s the sort of responsible innovation thinking we hope to see more of.

Alas, most tech companies still think that using your data to train their AI models is fair game. Reading the NSA Furby documents from 1998 about concerns that toys with built-in audio recorders could be used as spy devices was a surreal experience, especially when we think about how far we’ve come since 1998! Not only do modern toys – and home assistants – spy on our conversations with more capable microphones, they are now also connected to the internet, making it easier for companies and hackers to misuse your data and break your trust. And obviously, even toys will soon be powered by ChatGPT, just because all the cool kids are doing it. Like Google, and its upcoming Android update that will apparently allow Bard to read your private messages and use them for training.

So, whether you’re buying new toys or just trying to use any soft of software in this AI age, make sure to check the updates to terms everyone is releasing and think twice about accepting cool new AI features that sneakily enroll you in their training program.

Air seeds to improve the flow of Collaboration

But hey, if Swifties can force the one-lettered social media platform formerly known as Twitter to add more moderators, imagine what changes we might spark if we came together to imagine not just Better Images of AI, but better AI, period. Lately, the Decolonial AI Manyfesto has been making the rounds and challenging us to start imagining a decolonial AI that embraces diverse ways of knowing and being. In the age of learning machines, humans also have a lot of learning to do.

One thing worth learning and cultivating is our ability to change our minds – and consequently, our behavior –, as the recent Planet: Critical episode The Cognitive Dissonance Crisis explores. This discussion also reminded us about the importance of embodying different experiences and learning by doing – especially with others. Unlike AI, we use our bodies to think, and the language we use is loaded with spatial metaphors that might be important for our social cognition. So it’s important to pay attention to the spaces we inhabit together, both offline and online.

Online, our spaces appear to be shrinking, and AI is increasingly being used to create personalized experiences. For instance, the recent Brian Eno documentary changes what you see with every view, making it quite difficult to discuss what you experienced with friends. Already, our discussions vary depending on which social media platform we use – or don’t use – and depending on which bubble the algorithms assign us to.

Nowadays, Taylor Swift is one of the few people powerful enough to penetrate different bubbles and reach different communities, so it’s no wonder Swifties are currently one of the most powerful grassroots collective action movements, not just exchanging hand-made friendship bracelets at her concerts and stepping in when tech companies fail, but possibly even swaying elections. And they are successfully using social media where many others have been failing.

In a year when nearly half of the world’s population will be invited to participate in elections and decide the future of their countries together, technology seems to be further disconnecting us from a shared context in which we could find commonalities and exchange friendship bracelets with strangers. We’re not saying we should all hop onto a big centralized social media platform – interestingly enough, the fediverse doesn’t appear to be that diverse when it comes to hosting providers –, but we could certainly benefit from having spaces that celebrate diversity and collaboration rather than reward click-baiting, shallow arguments, and instant rewards.

We’re not claiming we’ve got a solution for all these problems, but we are on a quest to build a different kind of online space that encourages deeper reflection about your changing relationships to people, places, practice, and your overall ethos, and can eventually help cultivate a culture of collective wisdom and care.

If you’re intrigued by any of these ideas, you can now try the very first version of ETHOS, your responsible tech journey companion, at Currently, ETHOS is still a delicate seedling, trying to grow in a hostile ecosystem that has seen little sunshine in the past year, so please tread with care, but feel free to explore it with friends. We’re starting tiny by building a tool that can help you nurture your own ETHOS and explore ETHOS intents created by others, but eventually, we hope to integrate ETHOS with the tools you use every day, and allow you and your team to nurture shared values or other ethical intents in a communal ETHOS Garden. (You can read more about our vision on our website.)
Screenshot of ETHOS
We’re still trying to figure out where to find the nutrients this little seedling desperately needs to grow and thrive. So if you like this initial seedling despite its initial limitations and would like to help, send us an email at

Earth seeds to ground you in Research

Speaking of democracy and collaboration, OpenAI has finally posted an update on their Democratic inputs to AI grant program. While it’s positive to see OpenAI supporting this kind of research, it’s still unclear how they’ll implement these ideas in practice. For a well-funded company trying to create “safe AGI that benefits all of humanity”, you’d think they’d hire social scientists and do this type of work before unleashing ChatGPT onto the world, but…. Better late than never?

We can at least hope that OpenAI employees – and others – explore An AI Society, a collection of 11 essays written by social scientists and humanities experts. We think it’s pretty obvious, but maybe it doesn’t hurt to remind everyone that AI is not just a technological challenge. (Same as any other technology.) And we definitely need to include diverse perspectives and expertise in the discussion, so if you’re reading this, we hope to inspire you to join the discussion regardless of your background.

Speaking of diverse perspectives on AI, this past moon we attended the event Seeding Alternative Narratives of AI hosted by the AIxDESIGN community. We were energized and inspired by the diverse conversations and explorations of the proposed Slow AI research themes and the community’s dedication to learning in the open. We were also thrilled to discover new resources and voices we don’t usually come across, such as this paper by Leona Nikolić that explores the relationship between astrology, divination, pattern recognition, and artificial intelligence. Here’s a quote from the paper that might inspire you to explore a line of thinking that might be beyond your usual domain of expertise:

"Artificial intelligence and astrology may seem wholly irreconcilable with one another; while the former exemplifies the apex of scientific innovation and technology, the latter is a scientifically discredited belief system associated with magic, spirituality and the occult. However, they are remarkably congruent: both are resolutely concerned with making forecasts and producing meaning about the world through processes of pattern recognition."

Water seeds to deepen your Reflection

As exciting as it would be to look into a crystal ball to see the future of humanity and AI, we’d like to remind you that we still have the power to influence this future through the stories we tell. Your mind might likely wander towards the dystopic, dark visions of the future that mainstream sci-fi movies and series usually show, but here’s a friendly reminder that those are not our only options.

If you could use a bit of hope and positive visions, we invite you to watch The Assignment, a short film that explores how stories can help us discover paths to different futures. The short film is a trailer for The Climate Action Almanac, a collection of visions of positive climate futures.

If you are keen to dive into more hopeful climate visions, be sure to also explore Grist’s Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors short story contest. And, even more importantly, share these stories with others.

If you prefer to listen to podcasts, we also recommend the episode Dismantling Destructive Narratives with Yuria Celidwen of the wonderful podcast Holding the Fire. This particular episode reminded us about the power of dreaming, community, and the importance of committing to take better care of each other and the planet.

Tethix Moonthly Meme

(Thanks Dunja for making us laugh with this one!)

Your turn, Pathfinders.

Moonthly Elemental Sparks to share

In the past moon, we continued sharing sparks for more thoughtful discussions about technology on LinkedIn:

Dignity. How can technology help us live more dignified lives? How does your personal use of technology respect or challenge your sense of dignity? (More context.)

Ethos. How do you personally embody your ethos in your use of technology? What organisational ethos drives the design, development and deployment of your technology? (More context.)

Care. How do you practise care in your interactions with technology on a personal level? In what ways does your organisation embody principles of care in its approach to technology design and development? (More context.)

You can browse these and additional discussion sparks on ETHOS, and find downloadable, printable & foldable paper sparks – and blank templates – on our website if you’re looking for an engaging team activity. If any of these sparks bring you joy or spark interesting discussions, we’d love to hear from you!
Drawing of a paper Elemental Spark

Join us for Full Moon Pathfinding

Speaking of sparking discussions, we are again inviting you to a 🌕 Full Moon Pathfinding session on Friday, Feb 23 at 7PM AEDT / 9AM CET (check your timezone), when the moon will once again be illuminated by the sun. We’ll yarn about ETHOS, how we might design better online spaces, share friendship bracelets, and perhaps even sing Taylor Swift songs together.

If you’d like an invitation, reply to this email ( for those reading this on the web) with your own weather observations. How heavy has the AI-generated rain been in your area? And what is your favorite Taylor Swift song?

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. Wear a good waterproof raincoat when venturing outside, let the haters hate hate hate, 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

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