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posted by CoolHand on Monday November 27, @04:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the deep-trip dept.

Researchers from Sussex University Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science have applied a modified version of Google's DeepDream algorithm to panoramic video:

The researchers used a modified version of Deep Dream to process a panoramic video of the university campus. Then they showed it to 12 volunteers, finding that the visual hallucinations were similar to those brought on by psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.

The volunteers were asked questions like whether they felt a loss of control or a loss of their sense of self, and whether they saw patterns and colours. Their answers matched up closely with the results of a 2013 study [open, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2063-13.2013] [DX] into the experience of taking psilocybin.

In a second experiment, 22 participants were asked whether they felt any sense of temporal distortion, or a warped sense of time. In this case the responses were similar to those recorded after watching control videos.

That would seem to suggest the researchers' machine can replicate some, but not all, the effects of being high on psychedelic drugs. However, only a few volunteers have been tested so far, and they were a different group to those quizzed on psilocybin back in 2013.

This is just the beginning for the technology – the system is very flexible and can be tweaked in all kinds of ways. In the future, participants could even get to adjust the parameters of the experience themselves.

With better hardware, the algorithms could be run in real time and applied to an augmented reality view instead of a pre-recorded panoramic video.

Also at Newsweek.

A Deep-Dream Virtual Reality Platform for Studying Altered Perceptual Phenomenology (open, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-16316-2) (DX)

Related: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Study Suggests Psilocybin "Resets" the Brains of Depressed People

Original Submission

Related Stories

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 16 comments

The Guardian is reporting that Google is trying to understand how its neural net for image recognition works by feeding in random noise then telling the neural net to look for certain features then feeding the resulting image back in. Apart from anything else some of the images generated are astounding.

Link to original Google research article.

Original Submission

Study Suggests Psilocybin "Resets" the Brains of Depressed People 58 comments

An fMRI study has found evidence of a reduction in depressive symptoms after treatment with psilocybin:

A hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms can "reset" the brains of people with untreatable depression, raising hopes of a future treatment, scans suggest.

The small study gave 19 patients a single dose of the psychedelic ingredient psilocybin. Half of patients ceased to be depressed and experienced changes in their brain activity that lasted about five weeks.

However, the team at Imperial College London says people should not self-medicate.

There has been a series of small studies suggesting psilocybin could have a role in depression by acting as a "lubricant for the mind" that allows people to escape a cycle of depressive symptoms. But the precise impact it might be having on brain activity was not known.

Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms (open, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7) (DX)

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Touché) by ilsa on Monday November 27, @05:07PM

    by ilsa (6082) on Monday November 27, @05:07PM (#602111)

    VR hasn't even reached prime time yet, but we're already well on our way to inventing BTLs (see Shadowrun)

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, @05:21PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, @05:21PM (#602117)

    Puritans are always trying to take the high out of highs so that they can sell a daily pill. They absolutely cannot have the high. In fact, they refuse to use known remedies for opiate and alcohol addiction such as magic mushrooms, iboga, and weed because of how afraid they are that somebody might feel good without spending $75,000 on a sports car or $500,000 on a house.

    They know opiate and alcohol addictions are real and problems. They know those things cause death. However, the only known cures also come with a high. That's ok, they say, the deaths are acceptable. The deaths are in line with our ideology. The high is not, so we are forced to conclude that there is no known cure yet. But let me keep tinkering with these things that actually work until I can isolate and remove the feelings of well-being.

    Nobody well ever accept that perhaps the reason those natural things works is because it gives the patient a sense of well-being. Nope, we need to sterilize and amputate that feeling of well-being before we can call it medicine!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, @05:33PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, @05:33PM (#602122)

      No one has ever overdosed on weed. You get too high to take another hit... self limiting dose = safer than anything the doctor can prescribe.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, @05:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 27, @05:36PM (#602123)

      I disagree with you on the consumer aspect.

      True puritanical people would not like you to get good feelings out of buying a $75k sports car or half a million or more on a house -- they don't want you to feel good through material possessions or *any* experiences not permitted by what they believe is proper.

      They do not care if you are spending $75k to replicate a high, or $75k on the actual source to maintain that high over time -- none of it is acceptable unless it's a behavior they do themselves, or worse, believe that others should be doing despite the actual activity being an inconvenience to leadership to actually have to do along with the little people.

      Anyway, the pharmaceutical industry is against these natural highs and means of repair. I mean, it wasn't the distribution of opium poppy pods that caused all of those addictions -- it was a synthetic that drew profits. Unless they manage to get rid of the high on a synthetic (often, the highs are removed due to 'abuse potential', never mind legally addicting synthetic opiods that might not get you high but do get you hooked--and then look down upon those addicted as if it was a moral failure when it was really a marketing success)... well they can't have an OBVIOUS abuse potential on their hands.

      Addiction is a moral failure as stated. providing sin products to get high is just not going to return on shareholder value consistently enough and also without clear risk (people will get high--no matter the moral failures), but keeping people addicted does keep the quarterly profit statements up.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Monday November 27, @06:01PM

      by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {}> on Monday November 27, @06:01PM (#602127) Journal

      If you go by Newsweek, IBT, and other headlines then this is absolutely about a high without a high. As for the researchers, not really. Here's 40% of the abstract:

      Altered states of consciousness, such as psychotic or pharmacologically-induced hallucinations, provide a unique opportunity to examine the mechanisms underlying conscious perception. However, the phenomenological properties of these states are difficult to isolate experimentally from other, more general physiological and cognitive effects of psychoactive substances or psychopathological conditions. Thus, simulating phenomenological aspects of altered states in the absence of these other more general effects provides an important experimental tool for consciousness science and psychiatry.

      It's just another fun day of isolating phenomenological properties at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science.

      LSD May Cure Some Addicts []
      DEA Accused of Obstructing Research on Marijuana Benefits []
      DEA Announces Actions Related to Marijuana and Industrial Hemp []
      Here’s Why the DEA Will Never Reschedule Cannabis []
      DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30 []
      Study: Legal Weed Far Better Than Drug War at Stopping Opioid Overdose Epidemic []
      Ibogaine Could Cure Addiction Instantly []
      Opioid Commission Drops the Ball, Demonizes Cannabis []

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday November 27, @10:11PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) on Monday November 27, @10:11PM (#602203)

    You've probably heard about experiments done in a previous millennium where people strapped on glasses for a week that inverted everything upside down. They would adapt to it. Then when the glasses were removed, they would have to re-adapt.

    Would a similar thing happen wearing Hallucination VR googles?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, @04:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 28, @04:26AM (#602336)

      I remember one of the subjects saying (in a movie) that the re-adapting phase, once inversion glasses were taken away, was pure hell. Imagine nothing on your head, and the world looks upside down for a couple of weeks.

      Don't try these experiments at home kids... Yes, brains are "plastic", but that doesn't mean that a flip is quick to do or undo.