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TECH TALK: Harvesting Infinity Part 2: Awareness

Our conscious rational minds are only aware of a fraction of what our subconscious perceives. That’s why our stream-of-consciousness flow states often yield our highest performance results. AI tools can be used to capture the outputs of our flow states more easily and completely than our rational linear minds can.

Editor’s note: Besides following developments in tech, our author is also a musical composer (Juilliard-trained). He has provided a musical composition for you to listen to while reading this column. This piece is called “Solstice Ruen.”

 

In my last column, I put the mindset of “Harvesting Infinity” into context and discussed how its adherents on the West Coast used it to surpass the more conservative tech giants on the East Coast. Today, I want to discuss another application of “Harvesting Infinity” …the endless possibilities inherent in linking AI to our own streams of consciousness.

We sometimes do our best work when we are no longer aware of the passage of time. This has been called flow by psychologists. Our unconscious minds are aware of a great deal more than our conscious minds are. Integrating artificial intelligence into some of our mental processes can potentially increase our awareness of things that we are only partially aware of, such as what we unconsciously know.

There’s substantial evidence suggesting that we know and process more unconsciously than we do consciously, a concept often referred to in psychology as the “cognitive unconscious” or “adaptive unconscious.” Implicit memory allows us to retain and use information without conscious recall. Stimuli can influence our behavior and decisions in ways we are not consciously aware of. Intuition demonstrates that we can arrive at correct judgments without conscious reasoning.

With practice, many complex skills become automatic and unconscious. Our brains process vast amounts of sensory information unconsciously, only bringing a small portion to conscious awareness. Unconscious biases and processes heavily influence decision-making. Emotional reactions often occur before conscious awareness, and the unconscious mind can continue to work on problems even when we’re not actively thinking about them.
This area of study is complex and still evolving.

AI technologies have the potential to significantly enhance our ability to understand and utilize stream-of-consciousness writing. One key application is real-time transcription, where AI speech recognition can transcribe spoken thoughts as they are vocalized, creating a written record of one’s stream of consciousness. Natural language-processing models could further analyze this transcription to identify underlying themes, patterns, or emotional content. As brain-computer interfaces continue to advance, there is also the possibility that AI could interpret and record neural signals associated with thoughts and inner speech, providing even deeper insights into a person’s mental processes.

Applying AI to awareness can increase our potency. Howard Lieberman created this image with the assistance of DALL-E-2, an AI software program.

Moreover, AI can perform sentiment analysis on stream-of-consciousness content, offering valuable insights into the writer’s emotional state. Machine learning algorithms can also cluster related ideas or concepts as they emerge, helping to organize and make sense of free-flowing thoughts. Additionally, AI can generate prompts or stimuli to guide or initiate stream-of-consciousness exercises, making the process more structured and productive. Visualization tools powered by AI, such as word clouds, can create visual representations of the text, offering new perspectives and a clearer understanding of the content. These capabilities collectively enhance our ability to explore and interpret the complexities of human thought and emotion.

One benefit of using software tools to augment our intellectual capabilities is the capture of stream-of-consciousness processes, which are normally associated with the unconscious.

The time we spend organizing our thoughts by writing them down, tagging, sorting, and backing them up seems to be increasing every day. I have over 1000 notes, more than 1000 Facebook friends, and another 1000 LinkedIn friends. I vaguely knew about these 3000 elements as I created them, but there is no way I can remember them now. Additionally, I have several hundred passwords stored in password managers. Owning multiple computers and mobile devices chock full of information means I have an overwhelming number of things to keep track of.

Artificial intelligence is good at this sort of thing, only if you can remember to enter everything in the same place. But the larger and more exciting impact is the ability  to dictate and transcribe my music instead of having to write it down because the very act of stopping to write it down not only slows me down but also kicks me out of the stream of conscious mode. Then I have to climb my way back.

The rainbow and storm clouds indicate that applying AI to Awareness can have both positive and negative aspects. Howard Lieberman created this image with the assistance of DALL-E-2, an AI software program.

Integrating AI with our unconscious cognition opens fascinating possibilities. AI could enhance self-awareness by revealing unconscious patterns, biases and knowledge, and could offer deeper insights by uncovering thoughts and connections not apparent through conscious reflection. It could track emotional patterns and assist in problem-solving by analyzing unconscious processes over time. Additionally, AI could aid in personalized mental health support, decision-making, and memory enhancement while also boosting creativity and providing new tools for psychological research.

However, it is important to note that the integration of AI with capturing and analyzing stream-of-consciousness data presents significant ethical considerations. Privacy and data security are paramount, given the intimate nature of this information. There is a risk of AI systems reinforcing biases.  Overreliance on AI systems can potentially diminish our introspective abilities. Constant analysis might also lead to increased self-consciousness or anxiety. Questions about free will arise if AI can predict decisions based on unconscious processes, and there’s potential for manipulation. Legal implications concerning criminal intent and personal responsibility further complicate the ethical landscape.

We have to pay attention to balancing both sides of this immense new power.

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The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.