Monday, April 23, 2018

The internet is our id.

I was having a conversation the other day with a co-worker, and it was about the new Lost in Space series on Netflix and how I had hoped that they would explore ties to Forbidden Planet, which is a 1950's science fiction show that I find incredibly interesting. My co-worker had no idea what I was talking about, and so I explained the plot of Forbidden Planet and how the ancient race of Krell beings with their fantastic technology were all killed off in a single night by "monsters from the id." This is a direct allusion to Sigmund Freud, who postulated that within all of us, there is the mindless primitive. The creators of Forbidden Planet extended this "mindless primitive" to the Krell race, and essentially said that no matter how far advanced they had become, each one had a mindless primitive within themselves capable of terrible and primal emotions like greed, jealousy, and anger.

Well, my co-worker was impressed by the plot of this old movie, and then he asked me if I had seen Ex Machina. I had (of course) and he was like, "The movie that you were just telling me about reminds me a lot of that...the whole 'artificial intelligence' thing and how our society is evolving and moving toward artificial intelligence because we think it will help us when in fact it will probably destroy us." This was an interesting topic, so I said, "go on" and he did.

He asked me if I had heard of an experiment where some technology company unleashed a primitive artificial intelligence to teach itself from nothing but social media. I told him that I hadn't. So he explained, "I read this in Wired or some other similar blog so I'm not making this up. But anyway, these guys inserted this artificial intelligence into a social media experiment like Facebook, and they asked it to learn everything it could. Within an hour it became a race-baiting, swearing, hate-filled nazi, and they were shocked by this and took it down. They installed some filters to see if they could prevent this from happening and then unleashed the artificial intelligence again into the social media universe. This time, it only took ten hours but the same result came to fruition...the thing became a race-baiting hate-filled bigot." Then my friend paused and he said, "The internet is our id. Plain and simple. It's like that movie, only the mindless primitive is the internet now and whenever any of us use it, we are swimming in the id of all humanity."

Honestly, I was kind of blown away by this realization, and I think he's right. So there you go...the internet is our id. What do you guys think? True or False? I hope to read some comments on this.


  1. I heard of that experiment . It wasn't a surprise. There are to many trolls out there.

  2. Oh wow. I can see that. I can totally see that.

    And, I don't think that's the full picture. Because in social media... Yeah, totally. But there is more on the internet than social media. And in the spots where it's more about information and education and such, I think our higher minds dwell. It's like the internet is this pool of us, the good and the bad.

  3. I wanted to comment on this, but I haven't had time to work up a response, and I'm pretty sure that, at this point, that's not going to happen today.

  4. If this experiment really did happen, that's both frightening and fascinating. And the idea that the internet is our ID and could destroy us sounds like a great plot for a novel or movie. It's also a warning about the dark side of social media