THE INTERNET AS A REFLECTION OF THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS - Dr. Harald Hoerwick, 1999.
THE FOLLOWING IS A TRANSCRIPT OF A LECTURE PROFESSOR HARALD HOERWICK GAVE AT THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY IN 1999. DO NOT REPRINT OR DISTRIBUTE.
The advent of the Internet has brought a shift in our perception of reality. With every passing year, more and more people are becoming networked. The internet has become an invisible passage of information that runs through us. We have now opened the door into the collective unconscious.
In Jungian psychology, the collective unconscious is the shared metaphysical pool of knowledge from which all humans draw from in order to function in reality. Archetypes, as Jung called them, from which we forge our personalities. It is an unconscious passage of information. Thanks to packet transmission technology we are now conscious of this passage of information—in fact, it has tangible form. I seek to reveal the way in which we can access this unconscious: in the world of dreams. The ability to communicate through dreams may or may not reveal the true nature of our reality—that it is a hologram of the passage of information from which we originate.
I don’t mean to say that the internet is quite literally a doorway into whatever existential plane that dreams occur in—what I am suggesting is that the internet is fed information from both the users and the metaphysical collective unconscious, potentially able to recall this information on command.
Of course, at the moment, we’re far from anything quite so supernatural. Computer terminals are impressive, but nowhere near developed enough to take a deep dive into the unconscious of the net. There are certain people who might be able to accomplish this in an analog method, however.
The title ‘psychic’ is given to those who possess a natural inclination towards accessing the sea of information. In the digital age, we have all become psychics—that is, we have become able to fish out personal information from the sea of the Net with our computer terminals. Those who are born with this ESP-like talent take on a new role in the digital age—they can recall and send information between the digital and real world. Their consciousness seems to be “looser,” for lack of a better word.
In theory, those with higher-end terminals, with advanced hacking abilities, and the ability to simulate advanced digital spaces can become de facto gods of the network and can view any personal information a user may or may not have entered into the Net, whether it be in a private IRC or their personal homepage. More likely the being capable of this kind of omnipresence will be non-human; AI.
The abilities of AI transcend the power of computer terminals or psychic abilities—they are masters of the space in which they were born. However, the problem once again lies in human inability: AI in its current form is far too simple. It is a simple task for AI to play chess, but far more difficult to play god. My own personal research into the subject has come to a simple conclusion: for an AI to understand humans, it must be designed to be human.
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