Posted by: Gray | August 28, 2022

Studying AI as Collaborative Wisdom (CW): Some Resources

Resources for studying, researching and applying ways to approach

Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Collaborative Wisdom (CW)

Gray Cox,, #1-207-460-1163

College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609 USA

            These are resources provided to supplement a keynote talk I gave at the Survey Methodology Workshop (August 29, 2022) in São Paulo, Brazil, on “AI and the Political Philosophy of the Future”.

For an overview:

A recording of the talk is available here:

            The text of my talk is available here.

  Here is a pdf of the slides.


A manuscript of a forthcoming book that develops those and related ideas at length is available here as Smarter Planet vs. Wiser Earth? Artificial Intelligence and Collaborative Wisdom. (Please note that responses, comments and suggestions for this would be especially welcome.)

Methods of Dialogical Reasoning

For a concise, practical manual on basic methods of negotiation in the shared problem solving paradigm as practiced in North America and United Nations contexts, a very useful introduction is this classic handbook:

            Fisher, Roger, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. 3rd Revised ed. edition. New York: Penguin Publishing Group, 2011.

For a very interesting and useful account of methods for researching and applying conflict resolution approaches from diverse traditions in cross cultural contexts, a good place to start is:

            Lederach, John. Preparing For Peace: Conflict Transformation Across Cultures. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 1996.

For overviews of the field and the paradigms employed in it along with case studies of key examples, see:

                    Cox, Gray. The Ways of Peace: A Philosophy of Peace As Action. New York: Paulist Pr, 1986. (Available as a pdf at:

            Ramsbotham, Oliver, Tom Woodhouse, and Hugh Miall. Contemporary Conflict Resolution. 4th edition. Cambridge ; Malden, MA: Polity, 2016.

For examples from diverse cultural traditions see:

                    Bondurant, Joan Valerie. Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict. Revised edition. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1988. (NOTE: This is an especially helpful, systematic introduction to Gandhi’s thought and practice and the theoretical and practical features of the traditions of conflict transformation which he played a key role in developing.)

                    Chenoweth, Erica, and Maria Stephan. Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. Reprint edition. New York Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press, 2012. (NOTE: Includes systematic statistical analysis of the effectiveness of nonviolent methods of social change.)

            Chew, Pat K., ed. The Conflict and Culture Reader. New York: NYU Press, 2001.

                    Cox, Gray, Charles Blanchard, Geoff Garver, Keith Helmuth, Leonard Joy, Judy Lumb, and Sara Wolcott. A Quaker Approach to Research: Collaborative Practice and Communal Discernment. Producciones de la Hamaca, 2014. Available as a pdf at:

                    Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Reprint edition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016.

                    Nan, Susan Allen, Zachariah Cherian Mampilly, and Andrea Bartoli, eds. Peacemaking. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2011

                    Ostrom, Elinor. Governing the Commons. Reissue edition. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

                    Richards, Howard. The Evaluation of Cultural Action: An Evaluative Study of the Parents and Children Program. Palgrave MacMillan, 2017. (NOTE: This is an especially engaging case study coupled with especially clear and nuanced philosophical analysis that looks at ways community based, critical participatory research in the tradition of Paulo Freire can be used to engage in collaborative, dialogical reasoning and social transformation.)

                    Ruddick, Sara. Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

                    Sheeran, Michael J. Beyond Majority Rule: Voteless Decisions in the Religious Society of Friends. New edition. Philadelphia, Pa.: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Religious Society of Friends, 1983.

Simard, Suzanne. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest. New York: Vintage, 2022. (NOTE: This book provides an interesting entry into ways of understanding current forestry science understanding of forms of communication and intelligence  — in the sense used in this talk – in forests in western Canada and begins to suggest ways that natural intelligence might be usefully incorporated in Human/AI/Nature systems. Another relevant source for this is in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, Milkweed Editions, 2015.)

                    Straus, David, and Thomas C. Layton. How to Make Collaboration Work: Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002.

Ethics and Computers

For an introduction to the contrasts between monological inference and dialogical reasoning and their implications for programming practices and moral issues in AI, see:

                    Cox, John Gray. “Reframing Ethical Theory, Pedagogy, and Legislation to Bias Open Source AGI Towards Friendliness and Wisdom.” Journal of Evolution and Technology 25, no. 2 (November 2015): 39–54. (available at:

                    Cox, Gray, “Decisions Dialogue: The Bear”. This provides a very simplistic example of   some ways to begin to incorporate some key features of dialogical reasoning into programs is provided by a block code program written for working on these issues with children. It is available here: It consists of a very basic ethics dilemma game for practicing monological reasoning for moral choice but then trying to incorporate dialogical reasoning elements through multiple iterations of revising the code.

                    Turing, A. M. “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Mind LIX, no. 236 (October 1, 1950): 433–60.  Available at:  (NOTE: Turing frames the contrast in terms of  the kinds of reasoning and computer program development appropriate to the “Machine” vs. “Child” model. The nuances and implications of the Child model are developed in the last, generally overlooked section of the paper.)

For studies of the “Friendly AI” problem, ethics in AI, and various forms of the “values alignment problems” see, for instance:  

                    Benjamin, Ruha. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. 1st edition. Medford, MA: Polity, 2019.

                    Bostrom, Nick. Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Reprint edition. Oxford, United Kingdom ; New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016. (NOTE: an especially systematic and probing philosophical analysis.)

                    Christian, Brian. The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values. 1st edition. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2020.

                    Gunkel, David J. The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots, and Ethics. Reprint edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England: The MIT Press, 2017.

                    Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.

                    Norvig, Peter, and Stuart Russell. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, Global Edition. 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson, 2021. (NOTE: this fourth edition begins to reframe the problematic of values alignment to include important elements that provide the basis for a dialogical reasoning approach and Russell, in his Human Compatible, explores these issues in important other ways, though he does not draw on explicit articulations of the principles of dialogical reasoning that have been the focus of extended research during the last 50 years as documented in the readings cited above.)

                    Russell, Stuart. Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control. Reprint edition. New York: Penguin Books, 2020.

                    Tegmark, Max. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Reprint edition. New York: Vintage, 2018. (NOTE: This provides an especially clear and systematic account of the problems and prospects concerning the future of AI from the point of view of the paradigm offered by monological inference and related assumptions such as the substrate independence of information and intelligence. It does not explicitly consider the possibility of alternative forms of intelligence and reasoning such as the dialogical paradigm drawing on negotiation, conflict transformation and peacemaking.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: