One of the defining developments of our times is cognitive outsourcing or the migration of human mental process into technology. This is occurring through applications like Chatbots, Robotic Process Automation, Self-driving vehicles and self-authoring AI software. The pinnacle of these developments is Artificial General Intelligence algorithms like AlphaZero which learn independently of human training through Reinforcement Learning and Monte Carlo Tree Search and in days or even hours can develop capabilities that surpass thousands of years of human effort.
Many people fear that super-intelligent algorithms like these will subjugate us and as suggested by Anthony Levandowski, humans will become either their pets or livestock. In spite of these fears we seem compelled to pursue ever-greater advances in AI, posing the question of why are we humans building our replacements?
In his presentation, Sydney Jung Society President Robert Dommett seeks answers to this critical existential question, by exploring the parallels between the Zoroastrian prophecies of Zarathustra and the inner workings of the AlphaZero Algorithm. In the course of his discussion, Robert will draw on the often-contradictory thinking of two great post Jungian scholars from the ERANOS conferences, Wolfgang Giegerich and Henry Corbin.
In line with Giegerich’s discussion on Zarathustra’s dualism, Robert will argue that the new form machine "consciousness" that is now emerging in algorithms like AlphaZero represents the fulfillment of Zarathustra’s prophetic vision, albeit in a derivative form.
Robert advances the idea that Christianity and the Enlightenment acted as the carrier for the logic underlying the eschatological events of Zarathustra's prophecies into modernity and that their surfacing in technology today was triggered by the-post WW2 developments of information theory, digital computing and cybernetics. Together these formed the foundation for the building of a virtual, technological paradise in the cloud. In combination with Quantum computing, the autonomous form of machine "consciousness" that is becoming embodied in Artificial General Intelligence algorithms like AlphaZero are the harbinger of an entirely new process for the evolution of consciousness outside of humanity, a development which has dire implications for our future.
It is unlikely that we can change human destiny, but at least we can follow Giegerich's lead and try to understand it.
Robert Dommett is the President of the CG Jung Society of Sydney. He has been reading Giegerich for over six years and has presented in Berlin at the 2012 ISPDI conference and on various occasions to Jung Societies in Australia. He is a systems analyst, researcher and developer of social profiling & market segmentation systems and web applications for use in the corporate sector. He is an avid reader in the areas of depth psychology, ancient religions, soul, consciousness & artificial intelligence and has a particular interest in the work of Henry Corbin and all things Zoroastrian. He is currently the Technical Director of RDA Research, a leading market analytics agency.
Date: 10th August 2018
Time: 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Venue: Mitchell Theatre Level 1 Sydney Mechanics' School
of Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney
Cost: Members $15 Non-Members $25 Non-Member
*Psychotherapists and other practitioners can obtain credit for Professional Development hours recognised by PACFA and ACA for this presentation.