Paranoid Machine


Paranoia means “outside mind” which is usually interpreted as derangement of normal mental processes. It also implies an external mind, speaking back. In this sense, an outboard brain or external memory — a computer — is almost by definition a paranoid”device.

From the movie Tron (1981):

Flynn: The kids are putting 8 million quarters a week into the paranoid machines. I don’t see a dime except for what I can squeeze outta here.
Alan: I still don’t understand why you want to break into the system.
Flynn: Because, man! Somewhere in one of these memories is the evidence! If I got in far enough, I could reconstruct it.

Peter Kreig:

In medical terms we would refer to a Turing machine (like any other logic mechanism) as a ‘paranoid machine’: A paranoid patient relates all his observations systematically (paranoia therefore is also called a ‘systematic delusion’) to a single cause – the intent to harm him. He structures his interpretations hierarchically under a single logic root. While this mode of thought is considered pathological for humans, it is the standard mode of Turing machines (and thus of today’s entire computer generation with the exception of Artificial Neural Networks, which are not considered here) – principally and continuously, even though with changing axioms (programs).