The Freud Machine

Taking Responsibility for Opinions We Promulgate

By: David Zaig - Sep 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.”