Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Identity

Instructor: Luca Possati

A one-week intensive course!

Like electricity, artificial intelligence (AI) is an invisible force that has come to permeate the human world. But why do we feel the need to put intelligence—and even consciousness—in a machine? And what is the impact of AI on our own social and personal identities? In this course, we will explore these questions with key ideas from psychoanalysis and sociology as our guides.

According to psychoanalysis, we cannot think of identity as a substance or a solid core of the personality. Identification is an unstable, fragmented, and fluid process, and there is no identity construction without identity deconstruction. In related sociological literature, identity is viewed as a social practice: the self is constructed and deconstructed through interaction with the social context. Three concepts in particular are key to identification in the 21st century: Hartmut Rosa’s social acceleration, Anthony Elliott’s new individualism, and Mark Fisher’s capitalist realism.

AI is, at the same time, the cause and the effect of our contemporary struggles with identity. Various media narratives, especially in tech journalism, portray AI as an increasingly important agent in human society, capable of radically changing the nature of society itself. But upon closer investigation, these narratives reveal themselves as a myth that tells us more about ourselves than the realities of AI. It is in response to our identity crisis—a crisis partly caused by advancements in AI as a simulation and learning tool—that we, in turn, project our unconscious fears and desires onto AI.

Note: The course will draw on instructor Luca Possati’s 2023 book, Unconscious Networks: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Artificial Intelligence (Routledge).

Maximum enrollment: 10


Monday – Saturday, 19:00-22:00 (weekdays), 14:00-17:00 (Saturday)
24-29 April 2023
1 week (18 hours)


75016, Paris

All PICT courses are held in person. Participants will be contacted by the course instructor with all relevant details (readings if any, exact address, etc.) via email during the week leading up to the course.

All PICT courses are exclusive for PICT Members. Become a member from 3 euros/month.

This course is fully enrolled; if you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please write to