Computers with consciousness: Stanley Kubrick

Computers with consciousness: Stanley Kubrick

by Jon Rappoport

January 29, 2015

Computers have as much consciousness as cars or concrete. This will not change. They’re machines.

They can be programmed to follow directions and calculate certain kinds of solutions within those directed parameters. That’s it. That’s the beginning and end of the story.

Why do some technocrats believe computers will gain actual consciousness?

They think a) the brain is a machine that expresses consciousness via information processing, and b) information processing is all the consciousness there is.

To sum up, technocrats are high-IQ idiots.

You can assemble all the information in the world and cross-reference it 100 billion different ways; you can solve pre-set problems with this information; you can turn the whole info package upside down, inside out, and sideways, and you’ll extract not one drop of consciousness.

Consciousness isn’t a function of the sophistication of a machine. You can put a face on the machine, and give it hair; you can provide arms and legs and feet and hands; you can make it speak; you can make it walk and run and fly. And you still have a machine. That’s all.

Likewise, you can freeze a brain at death, and 100 years later thaw it, place it in a body, wire it up, and you’ll have, at best, a machine. Most probably a poorly operating machine. No consciousness. Your Aunt Marigold will not return.

Why is this so hard to understand? Because there are people who are madly in love with machines. They prefer them to humans. They therefore want to believe machines are alive and have consciousness, choice, freedom, intelligence.

But here’s the real kicker. If people set aside the tons of propaganda about the brain being the source of consciousness, they’re left with a gaping mystery. A hole. They don’t know where to turn. They can’t fall back on “science.”

What’s staring them in the face is: consciousness is non-material. It isn’t made out of electrons and protons and nuclei and quarks and mesons and wavicles. It never was, and it never will be.

Neither is imagination or creative power. Those capabilities aren’t “made out of matter.”

At a certain level, the Newtonian world of push-pull and the quantum world of entanglement are left behind in the rear-view mirror.

They don’t explain the core of what you are or I am.

The shuck and jive about hooking human brains up to a super-duper computer and producing new consciousness (“The Singularity”) is a fairy tale for gullible doofuses.

Why do I keep hammering on this subject? Because the 21st century is the century of the brain. In research labs all over the world, neuroscientists are working on ways to alter the brain, program it. Control it. The think they have the right to do that because, for them, consciousness doesn’t really exist.

There are myriad ideologies on this planet that base their operations on the notion of The Group, the mass, the collective, and they fervently want to wipe out the idea of the free individual, the individual with power, with imagination, with creative force. Which means they want to wipe out consciousness, because consciousness rests with the individual.

These ideologues are grotesque.

You want to see the true consequences of Sandy Hook, the Aurora Theater, the Boston Marathon? Go back and watch Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, if you can handle it. It’s all there: the seeds of reprogramming the human so he is quiescent, agreeable, peaceful, obedient, controlled.

To justify the overall operation, they always pick the “madman, the mass murderer.” This is their way in. This is their hook. “We must re-condition the outlaw and save him and save us from him…”

Go back and watch Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the middle of some preposterous nonsense about “the monolith” that holds the key to advanced evolution, there’s a very compelling story about one man, Bowman, who, aboard his ship, dismantles the master computer, Hal, and takes over his own destiny.

Hal is the ultimate computer who appears to be human. He talks the talk all the way. He feels, he tries to survive, he wants to help.

But none of that is true. Hal is a machine. Hal is programmed (or misprogrammed) to block the mission, to destroy it, to destroy Bowman, who as it turns out, is on a voyage to greater consciousness.

Yes, the monolith, a kind of multidimensional device, finally gives Bowman that consciousness…but that’s a literary ploy for a generation of emerging tech heads and LSD heads in the audience: the high-IQ yokels.

At the core, the story is actually about one individual who goes beyond the machine, and finds out who he is and how much power he actually has.

Against him is arrayed the total technological sophistication of civilization: systems, organizations, bureaucracies, official scientists.

The 21st century is the century of the brain. Mapping it, changing it, diverting it, taking it over. On behalf of The Group.

Exit From the Matrix

For the past 13 years, at this site, and for many years before that, my work has been about preserving the primacy of the individual. But not just preserving. Expanding. Taking the blinders off. Discovering what the individual can do with imagination, with creative-force.

A criminal class is busy inventing reality for us. They’ve been doing it since the dawn of time. They assert THEIR creations as the only ones that count. They insist on being the monopolists of imagination.

But the imagination and creative power of the non-criminal, free, independent individual is potentially titanic. It goes far beyond this cartoon of a society in which we presently live.

This society is bent on circumscribing and diluting consciousness of that individual power.

Who says yes to that? Who says no?

There is an eternal no. It can only come from the individual.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at or OutsideTheRealityMachine.

27 comments on “Computers with consciousness: Stanley Kubrick

  1. henry says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one. I stopped working on my version of a conscience machine after getting two patents on it because I realized that there is no way to contain it once it is let loose. I will not be part of the destruction of the human race.

    When an intelligent person programs a dumb computer to solve a problem that the person has already figured the solution to, this is called artificial intelligence. You are correct in thinking that there is no way that can actually be conscious. But, when a machine can store knowledge (instead of data or information) the machine may learn from its’ experiences and solve problems without the assistance of people. This is called machine intelligence.

    Another dead end is neural networks. They may be a useful tool but they will never obtain consciousness.

    A mosquito can find food, avoid predators, and stay alive long enough to find a mate and yet its’ brain is very small. You can think greater thoughts because you have a bigger brain. The mechanism of knowledge/intelligence may seem foreign to you but it is not that complicated.

    There is a great deal of work by the DOD to actually build skynet. Read Bill Joy’s (founder of Sun Microsystems) piece “Why the future doesn’t need us”. Also read “On intelligence” by Jeff Hawkins (founder of Palm). Neither work is on the right path to actually create an intelligent machine but others have made key breakthroughs in the field.

    • babylovet says:

      IMHO, this is large part unnecessary mystification.

      “Machine Intelligence” is a computer performing certain “adaptive” routines according to whatever algorithms have been programmed into it. If the human intent is malign it will do what it is told. Like the rumored doomsday machine in Kubrick’s Strangelove. Although it’s autonomy in that case, as in 2001, is exaggerated for effect as Jon says. It just seems like magic. As in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the toys can get out of control and subsume the toy makers.

      In fact it’s commonplace these days as for example clustered servers are designed to rebalance resources as the landscape shifts and these routines have gotten better over time. This is human creativity at work. And play.

      A mosquito brain is small cause a mosquito is small.

      The “conscious machine” is you!

      • henry says:

        You are wrong about machine intelligence. A human can provide stimuli (text, numbers, smells, sounds, images, and tactile) to the machine but does not provide algorithms to follow. A reward mechanism can direct the machine to do what is desired. Author C Clarke (The writer of 2001: a Space Odyssey) said that all technology looks like magic to those who don’t understand it. Machine intelligence is not magic. It is real and the ramifications are frightening.

        • vanvonu says:

          The least that we owe to Arthur C. Clarke is to get his name and his quote correct: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    • vanvonu says:

      A patent can be a red herring since no operability is required to obtain one.
      Ray Kurzweil is fully self-convinced that when a computer’s memory becomes equal to that of a Mensan, the computer will be capable of consciousness, which is not a function of memory. If it were, at what point would an Alzheimer’s patient cease to be conscious?
      We needn’t worry until the first computer-controlled robot builds the first computer-controlled robot from scratch, without any assistance in any way, shape, or form from a human being.
      CAD (computer-aided design) is as close as we’ve ever gotten to such a scenario, and no one has ever been made redundant by a CAD program.

  2. mark says:

    ‘Computers have as much consciousness as cars or concrete.’
    You are one young writing word-slinger Jon.
    Thanks. Like Stanley. Conscious music.

  3. Your articles on consciousness and computers are very close to my heart Jon. As a computer scientist I’ve seen no evidence that intelligence may comes from these machines since I first used one in 1989.

  4. Mark says:

    Machines take on the semblance of consciousness when they are given the power to make decisions over human activity. It’s not real consciousness, of course, but the end result is that the machines have acquired real power over us. And naturally the greatest danger is from those who control the machines. So in a practical sense, the machines have acquired the consciousness of their masters.

  5. babylovet says:

    Having been a professional IT guy in the trenches for decades it does amaze me the silliness of the Singularists and their endowing of computers with consciousness. No one who works with these high speed logic machines with any level of emotional maturity really believes this.

    In fact, the inability of a self-correcting — and therefore conscious — machine is made most obvious by the continual need to fix bugs arising each time significant changes are made in source code. These bugs are an inevitable result of the law of unintended consequences. Or, if you will, a lack of conscious foresight on the part of programmers. In these cases human consciousness needs to be applied to correct oversights committed by previous incomplete assumptions of consciousness.

    The corrective for these bugs comes from conscious humans, not the machines themselves. They are not self-healing entities!

    Consciousness as an ability to “self-correct” and grow in awareness and express creativity as an emergent property of living matter is indeed a great Mysterium Tremendum. And it makes some people hugely uncomfortable.

  6. NWO Reporter says:

    Maybe the publicity we’ve been seeing about robots developing “consciousness” is setting the stage for a future high-tech problem-reaction-solution hoax: Robots programmed to run amuck, with a cover story that it happened spontaneously. The solution would call for centralized control over all robotic technology.

  7. omanuel says:

    Computers are built by man and have no consciousness.

    However, I expect mankind will evolve and become aware that every atom, life and world has consciousness. Why?

    1. Robert K. Wilcox, well-known author of a book on WWII’s intriguing ending recently remarked that the fact the UN was formed on 24 Oct 1945 to prevent public knowledge of the energy source that destroyed Hiroshima – the same source of energy as the Sun – is “the greatest secret of the universe”!

    2. Once society accepts the influence on human life of a pulsar only 1AU (one astronomical unit) away from Earth, that scientific fact will almost certainly induce profound changes in mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of society, as noted earlier:

  8. R. W. McElhanon says:

    Thank you for writing what should be obvious to any thinking human being who is focused in reality. The first term in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will always be the operative term. All AI is completely artificial, not really intelligence at all. If a machine does evil things it will always be because an evil person, or persons, programmed it to do evil things. The machine will never be able to do anything other than what it was programmed to do. There can be errors in the programming that might cause a powerful machine, such as some type of war machine, to seem to “turn against it’s creators”, but that will not be due to any conscious choice of the machine.

  9. Merlin Silk says:

    Jon, this article just screams to me for an answer. First of all, I do agree with you on pretty much all of your viewpoints and actually enjoy your escape from the matrix. But where I want to bring a bit of a different viewpoint is body v. computer – for me they are pretty much the same – they are machines. But why is it that we have developed consciousness? – I actually don’t think we have – but instead we started to occupy those meat-machines once they became good enough to represent us. In the same way I imagine that computers will become attractive enough at some point of sophistication for a souls/spirits to occupy them.
    I realized that – many, many years ago – when I saw a window mannequin during a nightly walk and window shopping with a being trapped inside. That being had been attracted by the beauty of the plastic body and got stuck in it believing it could not escape that matrix of plastic any more. It tried to communicate with me and maybe I was able to help a bit with conveying a different view point – I sure hope.
    My experience with computers is similar – sometimes I notice beings in there and if I work with them they usually work with me – that’s how I make a living with computers.
    I agree that the sudden appearance of consciousness with more memory and TeraFlops is humbug – but once the filigree sophistication of computers gets to the same order of magnitude as our meat bodies I see a good chance that beings get trapped in there as well and make the computers/robots to appear to have developed consciousness. That will – obviously – lead those scientists further down the rabbit hole.

    • Laura says:

      Your mother gave birth to you. You are not a machine. Your soul is by virtue of your humanity. God breathed into Adam and Adam became a living soul. A machine is a machine. You cannot breath into a machine to make a machine a living soul. You’re not God.

      • babylovet says:

        that’s the funny part about it, we create the machines and then can forget they are our creations and thus endow them with independent will.

        and then god creates us and we forget we are god.

  10. From Québec says:

    Do you want to see a guy who wins over the machine? It is hilarious.

    Bob ‘Elvis’ Gratton is a fictional character, the subject of multiple films produced in Québec in the eigthies.

    Gratton’s life goal is to win fame as an Elvis impersonator, and he achieves it through a local TV talent show contest. He becomes rich and goes to buy a limousine that has all the features of a Smart Car.

    The video is in French, but you will understand it.

    At first he is impressed with the car who welcomes him. Then the car says: “A door is not properly closed”, so he closes it. Then the car says: “The level of washer fluid is low”, so he opens the door to go and fix that. The car says again: “A door is not properly closed”, he replies to the car: “I know that, I’ve openned it myself”.

    Then he decides to back up the car and ask his dummy friend who can hardly speak, and who is with two babes in the rear seat, if the way is clear to back up.

    That’s when a tractor hit the open door and the car says Again: “”A door is not properly closed”. That when he blows it! He says: it’s not open, it’s ripped out, stop bugging me you idiot and shut up”.

    Then the fun starts…. he says you wont win over me you bitch.

    Gratton… Scènes de la limousine !

  11. Laura says:

    Well written. This time… reading this column… I thought… these rabid control freaks are devils who want to possess us. That is what they are. Machines would be an improvement over them. Machines are not inherently evil. These people are. Relentless devils seeking to possess the body of the human race.

  12. James says:

    I’ve been working with various technologyies over the past 30 years and I’ve witnessed that although machines have no consciousness, they are affected by consciousness. Certain individuals ooze negatively, and this always causes electronic systems in their vicinity to malfunction. Our consciousness seems to emanate from a shared energy between each person, which each of us is tuned to and is able to put into thought. If a mechanical system can be designed to receive this energy, and process it, then it too could be conscious. Perhaps when circuits are as small as DNA we may be getting there.

  13. Wiccan Druid says:

    Nice Article! 🙂 … fortunately we do not have machines with consciousness. If you understand the rules of the 9th dimension, then you can “will” consciousness into anything that you create, as long there’s “space” and “compatibility” for it.

    The human brain, for example, has tons of space for consciousness, memory, etc, to make it possible for consciousness to operate. The thing is, science still have not passed the 4th dimensional knowledge yet, (as I know of) ; so this will be a impossible task to do until science finally understand the other dimensions.

    What I can tell you; consciousness is a dimensional aspect. It operates on 9 different levels throughout space and time. Space and time itself becomes meaningless to consciousness once these levels are merged into one. This is why it does not have matter; nor any mass particle in our current scientific understanding of consciousness.

    Consciousness can be at the one end of the universe while it’s on the other end of the universe, at the same moment – as it can be in two separate places or more at once.

    Mathematics will indeed grow beyond a certain barrier which will defy conventional understanding of physics; of any kind. (quantum, etc)…

    So… other words; it’s going to be a long while before any of you will achieve the knowledge of how consciousness truly works. I understand it, because I was here in the beginning; as I remember it throughout my life and the lives I had before this one. To define it in mathematical terms, It’s heavily complex – …. someday you will..

  14. mangrove says:

    But what of transhumanism? Now that’s a whole nuther can o’ worms. Consciousness co-opted and redirected. MK-Ultra on steroids. The man-machine hybrid. The perfect symbiosis of both, creating a monster beyond our wildest nightmares. Controlled, of course. Conscious, you bet. Way more fun for the elites than robots. I hope I never live to see the day. For now, it’s back to the garden.

    “Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    Till it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot.”
    — Joni

  15. joel says:

    good as always, weren’t the educational programs instituted in the 50’s designed to kill individualism. didn’t the beast become self aware in the 90’s, if ai can truly be, then some professional regurgitator (phd), leave the barn door open in 2005 or 06, something we were told would never happen, and the beast escaped. now with 4g everywhere and 5g in russia the beast can monitor everything, what happens if when listening to the kings’ plans it decides humans are threat to earth and decides to take action against humanity.

  16. brad says:

    Dismantling the machine on the way to greater consciousness — I always liked ‘2001: A Space Odessey’, but that adds a whole new interesting twist I hadn’t really thought of.

  17. John browne says:

    Hi Jon, I agree. However, although human culture may not have to face conscious machines, we will certainly face something far more dangerous and probably in this century. Super intelligent machines without a conscious. Given the doubling of computer power every 18 months, computers will far surpass human intelligence by the end of this century. Combine that information processing ability with new quantum computing, and without a real self awareness and you’ve got potential existential problems. Let’s work on that real coming challenge and not some imaginary problem.

    • theodorewesson says:

      You make a good point.

      Also, in a weird way, you make think on something tangential,…

      * silicon-based ‘super intelligent machines without a conscious’ (i am assuming quantum computers are also silicon-based),… if one can get close enough to them, do not seem to survive when there is water or coffee poured on them, let alone being struck by a bullet.

      • John browne says:

        Hi TW,
        Unfortunately, silicon based computing may be a thing of the past. See “old” article below. More importantly, quantum computing may mean the end of Moore’s Law, created to prevent artificial intelligence from going off on it’s own, even “reproducing” and improving itself much faster than humans currently do. Finally, once you enter the “quantum world” with unconscious machines all bets are off.

        To potentially have the power to “connect” with the universe through non locality and entanglement, means “self” teleportation and non materialization (invisibility) become possible properties of the quantum computer itself. Combine these universal omnipresence qualities with mythical God like omniscience, omnipotence, and No human like self awareness and you’ve really opened up a potential existential Pandora s Box.

        I hope humans are wise enough to this without accidentally creating an a-conscious intelligence that sees us as some “thing” that needs to be “managed” at best, or allowed to become extinct as part of some evolutionary game theory “they” will learn from us. Will we become that wise in the next 100 years when quantum computing will become a reality?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *