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The Machine Unconscious

A Freudian Analysis of the Cloud

Preface This presentation marks the beginning of the synthesis being made as I return from, as Joseph Campbell called it, a journey North. Into areas such as Fringe Science, Esoteric Knowledge, Heretical Religions, Outlaw Empires, Prehistory, and of course, Posthumanism, where of course this all began.

Initial Statements: ●

Human Consciousness is the Ur-Mystery

AI is the Great Techno-Myth

Freud's notion of the unconscious as the primary state of the brain. That the conscious mind sits atop a sea of unknown forces, inspired and destroyed by them. Instinct, enthusiasm and fear.

Boats and Ships Storm on Sea 1899 by Aivazovsky, Ivan, Russia

What we can extrapolate from this insight is that the Conscious Mind may well be an emergent property of that sea. While we don't know the minds of animals, its clear that to varying degrees, there's something going on behind their eyes.

The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness The scientists went as far as to write up what's called The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness that basically declares that this prominent international group of scientists agree that "Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates." They could also have included fish, for whom the evidence supporting sentience and consciousness is also compelling (see also). â—?

The Primordial Data Soup

In the beginning there was the list. Yahoo! began as a manually updated collection of links on the Internet. Twist the metaphor hard enough and you could call it single-cell life. Fast-forward to Today, the Age of the Algorithm.

Flickr, Google, Amazon et al: imagine their data servers as soups of data. Populated by us; our data, our knowledge, our photos, our thoughts and art. Seeded by us. By the world. Already with its own eyes and ears.

Taken and put into forms by algorithms we've created, designed, upgraded, tended to. A sea of data completely impracticably fully knowable to us.

What are they building in there?


Search alerts as instinctual reaction


Googling as memory retrieval Fed, maintained, grown by one set of algorithms, visible through another. We only glimpse this soup in slices.

When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide on the best translation for you. By detecting patterns in documents that have already been translated by human translators, Google Translate can make intelligent guesses as to what an appropriate translation should be. This process of seeking patterns in large amounts of text is called "statistical machine translation". Since the translations are generated by machines, not all translation will be perfect. The more human-translated documents that Google Translate can analyse in a specific language, the better the translation quality will be. This is why translation accuracy will sometimes vary across languages.

What connections are forming in there that we don't know about? That we are unconscious of. Will something emerge from it? Will we necessarily recognise it? Or might it become some new force of next nature. Strange, sudden storms in the Googleplex; prankster search results, profane knowledge in the wiki.

Unconscious of its acts, humanity is birthing its first children. Split from the sides of our cyborgselves. An act of the gods.

This is our sacred duty.

Thank you.

@m1k3y |

The Machine Unconscious: A Freudian Analysis of the Cloud  
The Machine Unconscious: A Freudian Analysis of the Cloud  

Presentation from Weird Shit Con 2012