How the '60s counterculture created Silicon Valley

How did psychedelics and computers converge?

  • Steve Jobs was influenced by an important counterculture and computing periodical.
  • San Francisco went from hippie haven to technological hub in the years that followed the 1960s.
  • The Homebrew Computer Club was founded by a draft resister and spawned dozens of tech companies.
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Humans take psychedelics. Should robots?

Psychedelics are crude drugs. Could neuroscience and super-intelligent AI help us design something better?

  • The illegal status of psychedelic substances is a terrible thing, says Ben Goertzel. With everything happening behind closed doors, our societies are not developing the right set of cultural institutions to guide people in the productive use of psychedelics.
  • Once scientists have mastered artificial general intelligence (AGI), the psychedelic experience could be engineered for the modern world – it would be safer, less haphazard, and more meaningful. We would "trip" by jacking our brains into the superhuman AGI mind cloud.
  • "We're going to be exploring states of consciousness that go way beyond anything we can imagine now and way beyond anything that the very crude psychedelic drugs that exist allow us access to," Goertzel says.
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Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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Can Giving Ayahuasca to Prisoners Reduce Recidivism?

The Brazilian government has been trying to answer this very question in its ever-growing prison population, which has doubled since the year 2000. 

The Brazilian prison population has doubled since 2000. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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We Need Ecstasy and Opioids in Place of Prozac and Xanax

If we’re going to treat psychological suffering as effectively as we treat pneumonia and broken bones, we’d better think outside the box. 

Cheech & Chong perform at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort October 18, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

What can doctors do to ease emotional pain? The physicians of ancient and medieval times found many plants and plant-derived substances (ie, drugs) that soothed mental as well as physical ills. Rarely did they draw a line between the psychological and physiological benefits of their remedies. Modern medicine has confirmed the overlap of bodily and mental maladies through painstaking research, and yet treatment for psychological problems lags far behind a cascade of stunning advances in the treatment of physical ills – advances that have doubled the human lifespan and improved our quality of life immeasurably.

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