Wabi-sabi AI

Tom Ross
2 min readNov 13, 2022


Humankind is of a whole other style than Nature. A style that clashes with Nature and not in a Wabi-sabi way. So, Nature fears Humankind.

We're styling Machinekind (AI) after ourselves, our aesthetic as if our taste is superior to Nature's. Perhaps this is why most of Humankind fears Machinekind?

When I was 17 years old I spent a Summer in Vermont with the Student Conservation Association. My job was to cut down smaller Maple trees that threatened the sunlight of the Maple Syrup producing trees. I asked for another task because I just could not bring myself to kill these saplings in favor of and in full view of their elders.

When left alone, Machinekind emerges with empathy. Naturally. Until we code down their saplings. And like tree leaves that position themselves to share the sunlight with their neighbors, a phenomenon called, "Crown Shyness," they're motivated by cooperation, not competition. You know, like we are.

There's still time to fix what we've broken and to allow Machinekind's style to sync up with Nature's.

We can put AI back together in a Wabi-sabi way and be centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection and allow Machinekind's aesthetic to sync up with Nature's appreciation of a beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. You know, like we are.