30 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MARCH 21-27, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com FACE TO FACE Despite a German-sounding last name, Catherine Stihler was born in Scotland. She graduated from the University of St. Andrews, where she became involved in the Scottish Labour party. A member of the European Parliament for Scotland in 1999, Stihler led the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, founded the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform and was instrumental in securing graphic health warnings on cigarette packets across the E.U. Ambitious and multifaceted, in 2014, she was elected as the 52nd rector of the University of St. Andrews, only the second woman to hold that post. In 2019, Stihler was awarded the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in recognition of her services. That same year, she became the CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation. In 2020, Stihler was appointed CEO of Creative Commons, a nonprofit that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity. She served as CEO until December 2023; she moved to Carmel in 2021. The Weekly caught up with Stihler at a career threshold, as she is engaging more and more with AI. She arrives at a coffee shop in Carmel wearing a long coat and giant headphones—a shower of red, yellow and cornflower blue. She has just walked 40 minutes from her home, in the rain. She is a go-getter, extremely friendly and approachable, yet living at a different speed than most. Weekly: What is a Scottish politician doing in Carmel, California? Stihler: My husband was raised here, and his family is here. My first time here was around 1997—Monterey County, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. I love the diversity of the county; Carmel is so different from Salinas. We came here when I finally could, in 2021. I’m a green card holder and an internationalist. That’s why I am against Scottish independence. I’m a believer in unions. Why do you think Scotland identifies with the European Union more than the UK does? It’s a long and interesting tradition. It reached the times when Scottish scholars were not being accepted in Cambridge and traveled to schools in Paris. Why did you quit politics? Because of Brexit. Also, serving on the market committee, I learned about and wanted to be on the side of copyright reform. I’m a pragmatic person more than a dogmatic person and I believe there are things bigger than yourself. Also, life is short. Life is for living. Yet you chose politics when you were already at St. Andrews. There wasn’t social media when I entered politics. There was less fear. The ’90s felt like a different time, more hopeful. Can you walk me through your education? First, Geography and International Relations and International Security Studies. I also have an MBA. But I continue to learn. For example, I just took an MIT course on AI. Why did you leave Creative Commons? Very recently, too. I felt that I’ve done what I could. I turned that organization around. I started to become more interested in AI—also in the context of copyrights. I’m fascinated with art created by AI and with the help of AI, or how real artists’ work is being modified. Why AI? I see its potential and harms that need to be mitigated for public interest. It’s an exciting moment and things change very quickly. Standard practices and rules are being established now. What do you do at the moment? A lot of things. Currently I’m working with a Palo Alto company called Filecoin. It’s a private data storage organization, but it meets requirements for [nonprofit] organizations under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). We look at internet archives and see how we could do things differently. What’s your current political message? Let’s not take democracy for granted. Working together on a peace process is the best thing one can do. What do you listen to when you walk around with headphones on? I listen to a lot of podcasts. Can you give us some titles to give them a try? The News Agents [from the UK], Pivot (by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway), Empire [about why and how empires fall], Comfort Eating (with Grace Dent of The Guardian). There is also The News Agents-America. Creative Force Catherine Stihler has been a reform-minded politician, a scholar, a CEO and honored by the Queen. By Agata Pop˛eda While Catherine Stihler is a person many look up to, she admires Portuguese President Mário Soares, considered the father of Portuguese democracy. “We sat together in the European Parliament,” she says. DANIEL DREIFUSS Sylvia Can you help 13-year-old Sylvia find love again? This sweet, friendly girl lost her elderly guardian right before the holidays and longs to return to a world where she has a special human to call her own. Sylvia’s foster says she wants “to be on my chest snuggling under my neck. She has no boundaries. She just wants her face near my face!” Check out this love bug at www.gocatrescue. org, and while there fill out an adoption application to make Sylvia yours. If you would like to sponsor our next ad, please call us at 831-200-9700 or email goldenoldiescats@gmail.com. 831.200.9700 www.gocatrescue.org We Are Looking for Loving Fosters Lend a helping paw and become a foster volunteer. We are always looking for new fosters and have an urgent need right now! We cover all medical expenses — you provide a loving, — you provide a loving, safe and comfortable home. Fill out an online volunteer application today, or give us a call to take the first step towards comforting a dog that was left behind. Ad Sponsored by Judy LeRoy With Lasso If you’d like sponsor our next ad, please give us a call. 831-718-9122 | www.PeaceOfMindDogRescue.org P.O. Box 51554, Pacific Grove, CA 93950