Black Mirror: from Lacan’s lathouse to Miller’s speaking body

This paper mobilizes the concepts of the lathouse and the alethosphere and re-examines them in light of Jacques-Alain Miller’s clinical developments of the later Lacan and the new symptoms as described by his clinic of the Speaking Body. As predicted by Lacan in the 1960’s, thanks to the allegiance between science and capitalism, technology is beginning to dramatically change the social bond. However, the lathouse as briefly alluded to in Seminar XVII, was a curious object that existed on the boundary between discovery and invention; not quite the Other and not quite being, as Lacan put it. My intention is to examine the status of Artificial Intelligence as precisely this ambiguous object that disrupts the social bond and which I will argue has greater significance than merely as an object a in Capitalist discourse. I will take recourse to an analysis of Charlie Brooker’s Sci-Fi series Black Mirror in order to stage the psychoanalytic questions posed by Artificial Intelligence and thus open up the conceptual possibilities inherent in Lacan’s nascent ideas.