Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 276 - June 2023




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Gurteen Knowledge Letter
Issue 276 – June 2023

There is currently a significant amount of discussion surrounding ChatGPT on the web. I am particularly interested in its impact on critical thinking and have been reading articles like these:

I find ChatGPT, however, a tremendous aid to my critical thinking. I see it as a “thinking partner and writing assistant.”

One of the notable aspects of ChatGPT that it is criticized for is that it frequently makes mistakes, is biased, and even fabricates information. Still, I find these positive attributes as it necessitates my thinking and conducting research.

However, this may not apply to students primarily concerned with obtaining good grades, certificates, or degrees rather than knowledge, the truth or the quality of their work.

It will be interesting to observe the impact of GenAI on academia. I think it may be positive rather than negative.

  1. The World Talks
    The world's biggest dialogue experiment
  2. Driving Environmental Change
    Individuals and Government Working Together
  3. Creating Safe Spaces for Uncomfortable Conversations
    Valuing vulnerability, authenticity, and respectful dialogue
  4. The importance of harnessing diversity to unite society
    Five critical skills for constructive conversations
  5. The risks posed by artificial intelligence
    A conversation between Nate Hagens and Daniel Schmachtenberger
  6. The Great Unheard Knowledge Café
    Where do the silences in your life exist, and what significance do they hold for you?
  7. Nobel Prize Summit 2023
    Truth, Trust and Hope, 24-26 May 2023
  8. Please support my work
  9. Unsubscribe
  10. Gurteen Knowledge Letter

The World Talks
The world's biggest dialogue experiment

I have long been a fan of Randomised Coffee Trials (RCTs) — social experiments where people are randomly matched for coffee meetings to facilitate knowledge sharing and relationship building. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, you can learn more about it in my blook.

Typically, RCTs are run within organizations or networks, although the Red Cross has also organized them globally.

Now, imagine if "every person" in the world had the opportunity to converse with someone from a different part of the globe, transcending borders and diverse backgrounds. This ambitious idea forms the foundation of an event called "The World Talks," which will occur on June 25, 2023. Today, May 31, over 4,000 participants, including myself, have registered.

"The World Talks" is a remarkable initiative inviting individuals to sign up and converse with strangers worldwide. It's a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons, gain new perspectives, and foster global connections. You can sign up at The World Talks if you would like to participate.

Driving Environmental Change
Individuals and Government Working Together

I like the argument made in this article; A better environment does start with you. In it, the author, Marc Davidson, challenges the notion that governments alone are responsible for solving the climate crisis. He argues against the either/or debate of individual responsibility versus government intervention, stating that it leads to a stalemate where no one takes responsibility.

While government policy is essential, societal change occurs through a transition process. Early adopters and forerunners demonstrate the viability of alternative options such as plant-based food, sustainable energy, and eco-friendly travel. When a critical mass of the population embraces these alternatives, public support for government action increases.

Ultimately, significant environmental improvements can only be achieved through changes in societal norms facilitated by government policies. However, this change requires the voluntary leadership of individuals who adopt sustainable practices. Individual action does matter, and each person has a role to play in creating a better environment.

Creating Safe Spaces for Uncomfortable Conversations
Valuing vulnerability, authenticity, and respectful dialogue

In my recent Knowledge Café, the Great Unheard, it occurred to me that throughout our everyday lives, we frequently consciously or unconsciously divert conversations from topics that make us feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.

We avoid areas we are unprepared or unwilling to explore, perhaps due to personal insecurities, fears, or the desire to maintain control. Doing so sends an implicit message, intentionally or unintentionally, that those particular subjects are off-limits and should not be broached.

This pattern of self-censorship and subtle intimidation extends beyond our interactions. It permeates the larger societal fabric, affecting personal relationships, workplaces, communities, and society.

For example, topics like religion and politics are often considered taboo, leading us to avoid discussing them. Stigmatized issues, such as mental health, death or addiction, are frequently avoided due to fear of judgment. And in the workplace, we may refrain from addressing concerns or controversial topics to protect our careers.

When we create an environment where certain areas of discourse are restricted or discouraged, we stifle the free exchange of ideas, perspectives, and experiences. This inhibits personal growth, hinders progress, and perpetuates the status quo.

To address this issue, it is crucial to recognize the power and consequences of our silence and implicit cues. We must cultivate an open, inclusive communication culture that values vulnerability, authenticity, and respectful dialogue.

This involves fostering an environment where we feel safe to express our thoughts, emotions, and concerns, even in areas that may be challenging or uncomfortable. The Death Café is one example of such an environment. By actively listening, validating diverse perspectives, and promoting empathy, we can create spaces that encourage meaningful conversations and promote growth, understanding, and connection.

The importance of harnessing diversity to unite society
Five critical skills for constructive conversations

In this video, Irshad Manji highlights the importance of harnessing diversity to unite society. She shares five critical skills for constructive conversations:

  1. deep breathing for rational thinking
  2. finding common ground
  3. genuinely exploring others' perspectives
  4. active listening to learn
  5. encouraging further dialogue

She proposes that adopting these skills fosters healthier outcomes and collaboration. Also, reflecting on our intentions and choosing a genuine desire to solve problems over asserting moral superiority enables us to leverage diversity for the greater good.

It's good advice, but I think there are a few prerequisites we need to accept before any conversation across divides can begin. We need to:

  1. Be prepared to question and revise our beliefs.
  2. Cease seeing each other as enemies.
  3. Be prepared to talk to people with whom we disagree.
  4. Be willing to trust each other and engage in good faith.
  5. Be able to show respect for each other and each other's ideas.
  6. Be willing to abide by some rules of engagement.
  7. Be ready to learn how to have impossible conversations.

In my blook, I have written more about these prerequisites in the post, Rethinking our Beliefs.

The risks posed by artificial intelligence
A conversation between Nate Hagens and Daniel Schmachtenberger

I hope you are familiar with the work of Daniel Schmachtenberger. Daniel is a futurist, philosopher, and thought leader in complex systems, existential risk, and global cooperation.

In this recent conversation, Artificial Intelligence and The Superorganism with Nate Hagens, Daniel discusses the risk posed by artificial intelligence (AI) to our global systems and planetary stability, exploring how AI not only exacerbates existing risks but also accelerates the overall crisis we face, highlighting the crucial role of wisdom versus intelligence and questioning whether we can alter our course or if AI will become the tipping point that pushes our current system into chaos.

The conversation lasts for three hours, predominantly a monologue from Daniel. However, like many of his other YouTube videos, it's hard to stop listening to him due to his profound insights regarding the issues we face in the world today.

I found the concept of the multipolar trap striking. It's a critical notion but often overlooked, and I am documenting it in my blook to increase awareness and understanding of its significance.

Definition: multipolar trap

The Multipolar Trap is a term used to describe a situation where self-interest compels multiple parties to act against their collective interest, leading to detrimental outcomes or even destruction.

Tag: multipolar trap (1)

The Great Unheard Knowledge Café
Where do the silences in your life exist, and what significance do they hold for you?

This is the video of the framing talk for an online Knowledge Café The Great Unheard, that I ran in May 2023, where John Higgins and Mark Cole shared their experience of what it takes to get unheard voices heard and why sometimes silence is an active choice that speaks volumes.

The Café was based on their recent book: The Great Unheard at Work: Understanding Voice and Silence in Organisations.

My critical insight from the Café was that silence in organizations is more nuanced than it initially seems and should be taken far more seriously.

Nobel Prize Summit 2023
Truth, Trust and Hope, 24-26 May 2023

I was disappointed not to be able to watch this year’s Nobel Prize Summit on May 24th, which brought together laureates, leading experts and the public in a conversation on how we can combat misinformation and disinformation and restore trust in science and create a hopeful future. But, as I am doing, you can watch the recorded event and other material here.

Please help support my work.
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If you find my work valuable, please consider supporting me by donating $1 (or more) a month to become a Patron or making a small one-off contribution. Your assistance will help cover some of my website hosting expenses.

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Gurteen Knowledge Letter
The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a free monthly e-mail-based newsletter. Its purpose is to stimulate thought about Conversational Leadership and Knowledge Management. You can find back issues here.

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Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

Video: Wikis in Plain English

A short explanation of wikis and how they can be used to coordinate a group.

Media Information: Image

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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