About Damien Pierce

Media producer

Books by the presenters

Mark Solms and Toby Walsh and their recent book publications:

Neuropsychoanalysis is the fastest growing area within psychoanalysis and it provides a bridge between psychoanalysis and the neurological sciences. This book provides an accessible introduction to the field through a selection of papers by one of its leading figures. It includes papers on the theoretical and philosophical foundations of neuropsychoanalysis, scientific papers on the brain mechanisms of dreaming and consciousness, the application of neuropsychoanalysis in psychiatry and neurology, and clinical case studies.

There are few other human inventions that are likely to have as large an impact on our lives as machines that can think . . . The steam engine liberated our muscles. The computer is set to liberate our minds.

The development of thinking machines is an adventure as bold and ambitious as any that humans have attempted. And the truth is that Artificial Intelligence is already an indispensable part of our daily lives. Without it, Google wouldn’t find out whatever you need to know. Your smartphone would be . . . just a phone. In countless ways AI has made the world what it is today.

But where will AI technologies take us in the future? We know they will continue to change society, but how? Will AI destroy our jobs? Could it even pose an existential threat? What should we be doing now to prepare for the future?

In this new book, Toby Walsh provides a fascinating survey of Artificial Intelligence for the general reader: where it came from, the state of the art today, and where it will take us tomorrow. His ten predictions of what AI will have achieved by 2050 will surprise you! Walsh discusses how AI will transform our societies, our economies and even ourselves, and what we can do about this.

‘A compelling invitation to imagine the future we want’ —BRIAN CHRISTIAN, author of The Most Human Human

By 2062 we will have built machines as intelligent as us – so the leading artificial intelligence and robotics experts predict. But what will this future look like? 

In 2062, world-leading researcher Toby Walsh considers the impact AI will have on work, war, economics, politics, everyday life and even death. Will automation take away most jobs? Will robots become conscious and take over? Will we become immortal machines ourselves, uploading our brains to the cloud? How will politics adjust to the post-truth, post-privacy digitised world? When we have succeeded in building intelligent machines, how will life on this planet unfold?

Based on a deep understanding of technology, 2062 describes the choices we need to make today to ensure that the future remains bright.

‘Clarity and sanity in a world full of fog and uncertainty – a timely book about the race to remain human.’
—RICHARD WATSON, author of Digital Vs. Human and futurist-in-residence at Imperial College, London

Readings Bookstall will be at the conference.

Homo Sapiens or Homo AI

Exploring the relationship between Consciousness,
Emotions and Artificial Intelligence

8.30 – 18.00 Saturday 25th May
The Melbourne Brain Centre
Kenneth Myer Building
30 Royal Parade, Parkville

a day with Professor Mark Solms
and Professor Toby Walsh

SESSIONS:
MARK SOLMS
WHAT IS CONCIOUSNESS?
Dr. Solms will review the major changes taking place in our understanding of the brain mechanisms of consciousness. These views revolve mainly around the role of the cortex vs the brainstem and the role of cognition vs emotion. Consciousness was mainly regarded as a cortical function but now there is an increasing realisation that ‘feeling’ plays a central role in all consciousness.
The implications of these issues for psychoanalysis and psychiatry will be considered.

MAKING A MIND
Continuing from the previous session, Dr. Solms will address the question,
“Is it now possible to make artificial minds?”
This, then, begs the question, “What Do We Mean By Mind?”.
He will argue that a mind needs more than intelligence. It requires consciousness.
He will discuss his recent work in this area and consider the implications for the question “What Is Consciousness?”.

TOBY WALSH
ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL MINDS
Artificial Intelligence sets out to build what might be thought of as “artificial” minds
in silicon. How far are we towards this grand scientific challenge?
How might such “minds” differ from our biological minds?
Will they match or even exceed what humans can do?
And how do we program ethics into them?

 

 

Phil Stokoe: Publications, Videos and Podcasts

Publications
Book Review of The Unconscious At Work. (Routledge) Ed. Anton Obholtzer and Vega Zagier Roberts, in British Psychoanalytical Society Bulletin 1995

Book Review of Who Cares? True Stories of the NHS Reforms. By Dr. Peter Bruggen. London, Jon Carpenter Publishing; 1997; Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy

Review of Conference: The Jung-Freud Study Day; Can we have Creative Intercourse? Jungian and Freudian Perspectives on the Oedipus Myth and Beyond – A Clinical Discussion for the Bulletins of the British Psychoanalytical Society and the Society of Analytical Psychology.

Book Review of The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion. By Joan and Neville Symington. London and New York; Routledge; 1996; pp 198. for Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy.

Stokoe, P (2000): Holding the Boundaries, Chapter 4 in S. Brookes & P. Hodson (Eds), The Invisible Matrix, Rebus Press.

Stokoe, P (2003): Group Thinking, Chapter 6 in K. Kasinski, J. Pooley, A. Ward, & A. Worthington (Eds), Therapeutic Communities for Children & Young People,.

Stokoe, P (2010): The Theory and Practice of the Group Relations Conference, Chapter 9 in The Groups Book, Psychoanalytic Group Therapy: Principles and Practice, C. Garland (Ed), Karnac Books.

Stokoe, P (2011): The Healthy and the Unhealthy Organisation: how can we help teams to remain effective? Chapter 13 in A. Rubitel & D. Reiss (Ed), Containment in the Community: Frameworks for Thinking about Antisocial Behaviour and Mental Health, Karnac Books.

Stokoe, P (2013): James Fisher (1937-2012) An Appreciation. In: Couple and Family Psychoanalysis Vol 3 No. 1, pp 120-127.

Stokoe, P (2013): Review of Richard III at Tobacco Factory, Bristol. In: Couple and Family Psychoanalysis Vol 3 No. 2, pp 263-266.

Morgan, M & Stokoe, P (2014): Curiosity. In: Couple and Family Psychoanalysis 4(1) 42–55

Stokoe, P (2015): Ethics and Complaints Procedures for Psychoanalytic Organisations: Some Thoughts About Principles. In: Couple & Family Psychoanalysis 5(2) 188–204

Videos and Podcasts
Surviving Work Conversation about the Healthy Organisation Model with Elizabeth Cotton and Angela Eden (Oct 2015)
https://vimeo.com/142278539

The Impact of Power on the Mind of the Politician for Resonance FM (Dec 2015):
https://m.mixcloud.com/Resonance/frontier-psychoanalyst-pilot-11-december-2015/

The Fundamentalist State of Mind for Resonance FM (Jan 2016):
https://m.mixcloud.com/Resonance/frontier-psychoanalyst-11th-january-2016/

BPAS video of the Impact of Power on the Mind of the Politician (Feb 2017):
https://vimeo.com/201135773/328f6e18f2

Where have all the Adults gone? (Nov 2017):
https://vimeo.com/245141670

Freud Conference 2017

8.30 – 18.00 Saturday 20th May
The Melbourne Brain Centre
Kenneth Myer Building
30 Royal Parade, Parkville

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION
cut-off date: Wednesday March 22, 2017

a day with

PROF ALESSANDRA LEMMA (via videolink)
The Black Mirror: Body, Technology, Sexuality

DR HEATHER WOOD
• The Unconscious Allure of Internet Sex
• Paedophilia, or paedophilic breakdown?
The impetus to seek illegal images online

ANNIVERSARY LUNCH
12.30 – 4pm, Sunday 21st May, 2017

The Committee would be delighted if you, and your partners, join us to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Melbourne Freud Conference.

Venue: The Boulevard Restaurant
121 Studley Park Rd, Kew 3101
Free parking available on grounds
Cost: $90.00 per person, including drinks on arrival.

Enquiries to Gurli Hughes
g.hughes@ iinet.net.au
0405025366

If intending to come we would appreciate notification to Gurli, with payment, by EarlyBird cutoff point, 22nd March. Definite numbers are required by the Restaurant well in advance of the anniversary lunch.

Let Them Drown… Naomi Klein

 Let Them Drown – The Violence of Othering in a Warming World 
by Naomi Klein

Edward Said was no tree-hugger. Descended from traders, artisans and professionals, he once described himself as ‘an extreme case of an urban Palestinian whose relationship to the land is basically metaphorical’. In After the Last Sky, his meditation on the photographs of Jean Mohr, he explored the most intimate aspects of Palestinian lives, from hospitality to sports to home décor. The tiniest detail – the placing of a picture frame, the defiant posture of a child – provoked a torrent of insight from Said. Yet when confronted with images of Palestinian farmers – tending their flocks, working the fields – the specificity suddenly evaporated. Which crops were being cultivated? What was the state of the soil? The availability of water? Nothing was forthcoming. ‘I continue to perceive a population of poor, suffering, occasionally colourful peasants, unchanging and collective,’ Said confessed. This perception was ‘mythic’, he acknowledged – yet it remained.

click to read full article

 

Feedback on the seminars and radio programmes in an email  from a banker.

Dear David ,

Thank you for you and your colleagues talks.

I am interested in how society impacts individuals, i.e. the bit from the macro/societal level back to the micro/individual.

It seems that this is what you are doing in these talks to some extent, though typically
the analysis moves from analysis of the individual traits and then to how these play out
at large in society. There is then a feedback loop – how the society itself then impacts back to the individual – and it is this what I would like to understand more.

e.g. When we work to pay off a mortgage, take on debt, spend so much time working through meaningless processes (I’m thinking bureaucracy/ forms/meetings in work/travel, automated phone systems etc) – it seems to me that these human created processes in themselves can damage us. What does the ‘drip drip’ of existence within the modern world do to us, the non-billionaires? So, I’m raising a point about how society acts on us, rather than how we have created it. What might it do instead?

Many say that they are unhappy the way society seems to have inflicted itself upon me –
a meaningless job, time away from family, serving a cause I did not think enhanced the world to pay for my existence, training my kids in school for more of the same, etc.

 However, I have tried/am trying to respond positively to this – I’m consciously taking time away from my previous work (as a London banker) to ‘de-institutionalise’ I’m lucky as I can fund such a break, for a while at least. I accept that my previous job/effort would be by and large what Dr Bell would calls ‘superfluous’ (though for me this was framed by David Graeber’s article: http://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs).

It seems to me that you and your panellists also feel inflicted upon by modern society too – I think, the talks on radio and the seminars may be therapy for us all – but I wonder if you could be even more explicit on what this society does to us, perhaps it is long-term boredom, un-creativity, low level violence, etc.

Another thought I have – is it possible to put our current society into some sort of historical/temporal context?

 A consensus with your panellists seems to be that financialisation/neoliberalisation of modern life fosters greater uncaring. People nowadays are more depressed/harassed and that then only serves to make things worse. I don’t actually disagree – but, as we are within the society itself, are we actually able to know that? It may be that we are experiencing as much (or less) depression, anxiety, etc as a society as we always were.
Dr Bell mentions the poor explanations on the origins of Nazism and that the multiple aspirations of that society may have played a role in bringing this about.
Are we somewhere similar now, and there may be a lesson to learn?
Do we know – were the of German society in a fundamentalist mindset, anxious, depressed, something else?
Another interesting point in time is when we moved into the industrial age.
Perhaps there’s no chance of getting an answer to this sort of ‘psychoanalytical + anthropological/historical’ questions -the past is a different country and perhaps we can’t make a meaningful comparisons.. But if there’s a chance of a better explanation/analysis
of the past, I’d love to hear more.Finally, to play devil’s advocate, perhaps there is an alternative view to the ‘uncaring’ undercurrent that frames the shows so far…? Is it possible that something different is occurring, or that uncaring is only half the story? Perhaps, we are going through ‘growing pains’ as we move into an information age. So, as a once in a generation change, there is unsettling disruption in all levels; but there are positives too – with more information, greater interaction between people and greater understanding of ourselves. Your show itself might be considered as a product of this new improved age – ie we have greater engagement and accessibility to information relating to the internal world; we can increase our understanding of our own mental landscapes. It does not seem that this was so in my parents age.

An Answer to the Banker DM

The separation between the person and society is utterly untenable. It’s like detaching the air inside the football from the air, its got a surface which holds it together, gives it form, allowing it to be acted upon and have motion, but it is air and is in the air.
Psychoanalysis’s greatest gift could be the deflation of the illusions of the self-centred individual and a recognition of our consubstantionalness with world and others.
From this insubstantial ground we can recognise sensations and perceptions flowing through us as we grasp the illusions of self and exhale “this is me’, “this is me”.