Tag Archive: neuroscience

Some more backstory (not that it’s needed for the film to be enjoyable, but I do think this adds value for some, to make the film even more enjoyable…):
So there was a time, not very long ago, when some neuroscientists seemed to insist dreams held no meaning. 
Listening to podcasts now, it seems hard science is getting much better at ‘seeing’ what we’re dreaming, and finally confidently linking some dreams to our past experiences, and emotional processing etc. 
What neuroscience still needs to do much better, is to start looking at the mythological content of dreams – in terms of symbols AND also in terms of the stories we dream – and matching those to our shared mythology.

This is my example of ‘over-writing’ – where a character says more than needed (when he goes on about gut bacteria). 
It’s a risky strategy, because you may create a tedious script. 
And whilst other filmmakers may disagree with my approach, I’d much rather have more material to cut away in the editing room, than be scrambling around with too little material at the end.
It’s also an example of calling-out the audience – if anyone starts falling asleep here, the protagonist is saying, ‘hey wake up, this is important, I’m talking to you’.

Before we create true A.I./ Artificial Consciousness, perhaps we must consider our Evolution of Human Consciousness, as one long continuum. From when we were apes, to now. And our religions and religious mythologies are markers on this path.

The Oracle Machine - page 77

The Oracle Machine grapples with just about the deepest issue I can think of – the nature of consciousness and what it means – which anyone into A.I. might also be asking.`

A major influence, besides Jung, has been Edward Edinger, and his interpretation of Jung in his book ‘The Creation of Consciousness’. He quotes Jung saying: “Existence is only real when it is conscious to somebody. That is why the Creator* needs conscious man even though, from sheer unconsciousness, he would like to prevent him from becoming conscious.” And later: “Whoever knows God has an effect on him”.`

In The Oracle Machine, the character Lena understands this first.

*Edinger jumps between terms, also calling ‘the Creator’ as the ‘trans-personal self’, convinced that Jung had found a third way, between science and religion – I understand in what become known as ‘Depth Psychology’.

The Oracle Machine pg 133

The book is already proving its worth, as a tool of open discussion and development, showing me where to add more info, for a future film version, or perhaps a colour graphic novel version.

I can see from comments on Reddit – when I show frame grabs from TOM on dreams – that many people still don’t value their dreams – not consciously anyway.

So yes, I’ll tweak the storyline to add better explanations, to see if I can help others be more conscious of the likely power and importance of their dreams.

It’s a fun mission. Because I agree with what Harari says – that we should all try get to know ourselves better, before an A.I. knows us better than we do…

The Oracle Machine - more dreams

Is this how an A.I. could one day ‘wake-up’? By getting stuck in a  loop, phoning itself, and then drawing more power to get out that loop.

In the graphic novel, the A.I. does have an ‘intention’, and as the character Scot says earlier in the novel, perhaps having an ‘intention’ is the difference between a living cell and a rock? Could ‘an intention’ (expressed as DNA in us) be key to life as we know it, and to A.I. self-consciousness?

And of course, in the book, it’s fun to link the A.I. ‘awakening’ to a ‘possible moment of conception’.

self aware A.I. - the Oracle Machine

Most people acknowledge that nightmares frighten them, and other dreams help them wake up relaxed or in a jolly mood, but beyond that, it seems to me, that too many people dismiss any value to their dreams – mostly because of the supposedly random imagery involved.

However, I believe we do have a deep ‘inner-self’ that speaks to us in dreams, but that it uses images partly because it seldom uses a voice. Perhaps this is because we already have another inner-dialogue, more conscious ‘voice’ we already use. (Although in lucid dreams, I have experienced external-sounding voices…)

So instead our inner-self communicates in images, and it uses images from our subconscious, that already have ’emotionally-loaded’ meaning for us. This is why dreams will throw up images from the past – representing something we experienced whose impact became embedded in us, and associated with that image. Furthermore, these images are intertwined with symbols and personalities we may never have consciously encountered before.

Jung used the word ‘archetype’ – now part of our lexicon – to describe his idea that our instincts have become so refined as to be ‘personalities’ that reside within us, and influence us greatly. These characters can be seen in mythology, because myths are stories that have been passed down through the ages, and have thus been shaped over time – like a smooth pebble on a beach – to reveal these archetypes.

And the fact that such similar myths and archetypes pop up across the world, across all cultures, and across so many dreams – should be evidence that they are deeply part of us.

What’s interesting now is that A.I. brain scanning is becoming able to visualise the images we imagine. Does this mean that soon A.I. will see what we dream? And when it analyses the dreams of 20 million people – or perhaps 1 billion when we have mobile phones embedded in our heads – will A.I. then see the patterns, or streams, of mythology, and ‘meet’ these archetypes?

I agree with what Harari says – that we really should all try get to know ourselves better, before an A.I. knows us better than we do. So shouldn’t we all be paying much more attention to our dreams?

The Oracle Machine - more dreams


Symbiotic A.I.

The Oracle Machine graphic novel is all about A.I.  Here Scot, a lecturer, discusses ‘Symbiotic A.I.’ with a student – a term to describe the idea that A.I. won’t need to standalone, but could be a synthesis of us and it.
Soon, however, thereafter in the story, this machine that phones people for answers, does achieve a degree of self-consciousness – by phoning itself!

Symbiotic A.I.