ATAI Life Sciences, a biosciences company backed by venture capitalist and freedom-loving billionaire Peter Thiel that specializes in experimental treatment of mental disorders with psychedelic drugs, has bought out a majority stake in a company working to meld the mind with machines.
Per CNBC, the Berlin-based ATAI has purchased a controlling percentage of Psyber, one of several firms working on brain-computer interface technology that could theoretically one day allow humans to plug themselves into a smart toaster (or something more interesting, like a robot tank). This may seem a curious pairing at face value, as the first connection between psychedelics and transhumanism that may come to mind is that those on the former tend to talk a lot about the latter.
But ATAI told CNBC that Psyber’s early-stage research into electrical activity in the brain, the first step towards translating neural activity into machine language and vice versa, will also be useful in the development of psychedelic therapies. The same data that Psyber is analyzing could also yield insights into how psychedelic drugs produce their subjective effects and improve their safety and efficacy, according to ATAI. The company also suggested that brain-control interfaces could one day play a role in psychedelic therapy itself.
“Combining both medicine and BCI-assisted therapy puts the patient firmly in the driving seat as it tailors to the individual’s specific needs,” David Keene, ATAI’s digital therapeutics ad, told CNBC in a statement.
Thiel’s firm, Thiel Capital, is a lead investor in ATAI and led funding rounds of $125 million in November 2020 and $157 million in March. The company reportedly may launch an initial public offering as soon as the next few weeks.
Thiel is a techno-libertarian who has long sought to cease simply being a rhetorical immortal vampire and become an actual one, has funded research into various biotech companies in fields like experimental therapies, life extension, and transhumanism. He’s a big proponent of humanity reaching the technological singularity, a hypothesized future where scientific progress attains an exponential, irreversible pace, resulting in things like the creation of digital superintelligences or the elimination of the distinction between humans and machines. This would presumably also allow him to live forever, so long as that brain-control interface gets made. Read Full Article at Gizmodo >