Should politicians, en masse, do 'shrooms?

Just for giggles, would it be a good idea to have our leaders take shrooms?

Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Image. Edit by BigThink
  • The idea of mass ingestion of psychedelics to drive people to environmental activism has been put forward lately, inspiring much debate.
  • Suppose we gave it to people with power instead. It seems like it would be more effective.
  • While psychedelics can offer some benefits, they won't necessarily be the right ones to get the job done.
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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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