In this interview with Claire L. Evans, Ways of Being author James Bridle shares thought-provoking observations about the role of artificial intelligence, the awareness of living in a more-than-human world (and what gardening can teach us about building technology), and the importance of resilience and transmittal of knowledge as the world radically changes.

But I have this very strong sense that one of the broader roles of AI in the present is really just to broaden our idea of intelligence. The very existence, even the idea of artificial intelligence, is a doorway to acknowledging multiple forms of intelligence and infinite kinds of intelligence, and therefore a really quite radical decentering of the human, which has always accompanied our ideas about AI — but mostly incredibly fearfully. There’s always been this fear of another intelligence that will, in some way, overtake us, destroy us. It’s where all the horror of it comes from. And that power is completely valid, if you look at human history, the human use of technology, and the way in which it’s controlled by existing forms of power. But it doesn’t need to be read that way.

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Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.