Computational Dream Science? Challenges and Opportunities

Vwani Roychowdhury (UCLA)
Dreams provide a unique window into our brain and how it organizes and
integrates a hierarchy of experiential, conceptual, and emotional memory. Certainly,
if we can collect dreams both longitudinally (over time) and horizontally (over
gender, age, location, culture etc.) across millions of subjects then we can find
statistically significant patterns of thoughts and symbols and their relationships?
Perhaps, even construct a model of brain’s memory mechanism and even of the
unconscious state at both the collective and individual levels? While all this may
sound very 21 st century big-data-driven-computing hyperbole, this very statistical
approach is indeed quite old and was articulated and practiced meticuloously by
several early 20 th century dream research pioneers. To quote Carl Jung: “In order to
do anything like justice to dreams, we need interpretive equipment that must be
laboriously fitted together from all branches of humane sciences.” This talk will revisit
this century-old Jungian question and explore how far can one go towards designing
effective “interpretive equipment’’ using 21 st century computing and data processing

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