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The Freud Machine

Taking Responsibility for Opinions We Promulgate

By: David Zaig - 09/02/2014


The topics of my articles in this column, as it happens, are not chronological. But they eventually will coalesce into a more coherent picture. In addition, I would like to point out that my ideas are based on today’s top researchers’ findings, and not on the traditional hair-splitting philosophical methods.

As an artist, I learned to understand that in this world of ours we humans must take responsibility for the opinions we promulgate: that means, ideally, we ought to search for the data to support what we say. We take notions such as subjectivity, creativity, feelings, or likes and dislikes for granted. Let’s not forget that, first, these notions are words--words we inherited and use automatically, words that can be skewed when translated into action, and as such misrepresent and distort our perception of the world.

Unchecked preconceived ideas can lead to misperceptions and biases. Here are two out of many examples that question the validity of our personal decision making and, in turn, the subjective self. Are you really in charge of your own decisions?

“The Urge To Solve”

Watch This Magician's Mind-Bending Illusion Very Closely.. It Makes Order Out Of Chaos

Watch the selective attention test,

selective attention test

Today, with the efforts of an army of researchers we are witnessing the emergence of new understanding of human nature. It turns out that we don’t know ourselves as well as we think we do. To know ourselves, how we form ideas, why we let beliefs fool us, and more, we ought to be mindful of where the self is manufactured: the self is what the brain does. The videos above clearly demonstrate that “there are hidden forces that shape our decisions”—the brain is malleable and unconsciously prone to outside influences.

The videos above also demonstrate how countless times we make judgments and decisions without awareness and in ignorance of how our mind does it. Human behavior is not as simple as we tend to believe. In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman shows clearly how we make judgments and decisions. We understand the world in two modes of thought: System 1 is intuitive, fast, and emotional, and System 2 is deliberate, slow and logical. In addition, mental biases affect everything from voting to planning our next trip. One has to really read the book to do it justice and to benefit from one of the most important thinkers of our time.

Daniel Kahneman received the 2002 Nobel Prize for his research concerning human judgment.

As I said before, we need a massive amount of information to deal with the world around us: knowledge is necessary to increase our awareness and understanding of ourselves and the world. The problem is that the brain cannot handle such vast amounts of information: how do we overcome the brain’s limitations?

First check this article “Human Enhancement Comes a Step Closer”:

Second, the idea of a Freud Machine which I conceived years ago still holds, and in the light of current findings is not such a farfetched idea. The Freud Machine, if materialized, is one of those tools that will help us use our brains most efficiently. The human brain can no longer cope with the trillions upon trillions of bits of information generated today. So the ‘Freud’ was designed to extend the brain and to aid it in processing colossal amounts of information. Increased data processing power for the brain will enable more intelligent human decision-making. Ignoring this fact can be detrimental to life on Earth.

“According to C. P. Snow, on one side were the humanists, on the other the scientists, and between them lay a shameful “gulf of mutual incomprehension.”



Reader Comments
From "Keith Shaw"
09-04-2014, 03:17 pm
David, I don’t understand what you mean by the limited capacity of the human brain. Personally, I can’t think of a single thing that I don’t know.
From "david zaig"
09-04-2014, 02:07 pm
Stephen said: "But your grandchildren's children will read "Hamlet." They will reckon their ghosts." David answers: I hope my grandchildren will still read Hamlet, but I am sure that they will also benefit from Newton, Einstein, and from those people who trying to find cures for CURRENT ailments and the ones that will appear in the future. This two world do not cancel each other out.
From "david zaig"
09-04-2014, 08:48 am
All these comments make me really sad. these comments do not address what I am talking about.
From "JMR Henriquez"
09-03-2014, 10:39 pm
A case for the “Freud Machine”:\r\nThe capacity of the human mind—that is the human brain’s storage capacity—is equivalent to 1,000,000 Gigabytes* or 1,073,741,274,244,468 Bytes of hard-drive space … (*1 Gigabyte = 1,073,741,274 Bytes). It\'s estimated that we humans use a very small percentage of our brain which is only 0.67% to 1.5%. Einstein was the only person who could use his 2.28%.\r\n
From "Stephen Rifkin"
09-03-2014, 11:13 am
Hamlet says, "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio!" Is that what you're saying?
From "Jane Hudson"
09-02-2014, 06:27 pm
Then there are known knowns, unknown knowns, unknown unknowns. I liked the Chaos/Order piece.
From "dee zee"
09-02-2014, 12:24 pm
Please, first, explain to our readers what knowing is, and then we shall have something to talk about.
From "Stephen Rifkin"
09-02-2014, 11:47 am
Pronoun problem. I know what I know, I think. I don't know what I don't know. I worry over the latter-- I often do, but not that often. Who is this "I?"
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