Psychedelia and Computing:
How to Bifurcate Cybernetics?

Psychedelia and Computing:
How to Bifurcate Cybernetics?

Victoria Vesna

Organized by Igor Galligo (Alum ’21) in collaboration with UCLA Art|Sci Center, Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art and The Association of Friends of Generation Thunberg-Ars Industrialis.
7 Apr 2023 - 9:00am

This event is free in-person and online (with registration at the link below).

In parallel with the current collapse of the cinema industry, we are now witnessing the emergence of new recreational dream bio-industries that aim to renew and artificially provoke dreams: the industry of psychedelic experiences produced by micro-doses. This colloquium will consist, first of all, in understanding the psychological, economic, and technological (or organological) forces that explain the dazzling success of these new industries. We will put forward the hypothesis that these psychedelic industries are developing as a counterpoint to the technological processes of general automation (which is also the automation of the mind), which are increasingly affecting our ways of living and thinking. Now, rather than generating a non-dialectical intermittency of the automation processes of the mind through psychedelic experiences, we propose to carry out a critique of the theoretical foundations of computer science that are at the origin of general automation: cybernetics and computational theory. Against a computationalist conception of reason implemented in our new artificial intelligences, the stake of this critique will be to discuss the bases of a new psychedelic computer theory that reintegrates the possibility of the dream experience and the determination of the unconscious within our interactions with machines. It will therefore be a question of conceiving the psychedelic experience as a cognitive bifurcation operator, whose challenge is to anticipate its occurrence within computer theory; that is to say, within our interactions with new artificial intelligences, which are still completely incapable to dream.

Event Program:
Opening by Igor Galligo (UC Berkeley, Noцdesign) / from 9:00 a.m. to 9:20 p.m.
1. First session: “Psychedelia: a noetic experience of the entropic brain?” /from 9:25 a.m. to 10:55 p.m.
The Robin Carhart-Harris theory postulates that the psychedelic experience is characterized by entropic dynamics in the human brain. Could we then suppose that the psychedelic experience increases the rate of entropy of the human brain, and thereby breaks the established automatisms, thus making it possible to establish new synaptic connections and cognitive bifurcations?
Speakers: Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam), Warren Niedich (Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art)
Discussant: Patricia Kubala (UC Berkeley)
10-minute break
2. Second session: “There must be in theoretical computer science a dream between the calculation” / from: 11:05 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.
The artificial neural networks (ANN) at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence today claim to mimic the neural structures of the brain and nervous system in order to produce cognitive performances equivalent to that of human intelligence. This technology nevertheless represents a limited computationalist conception of human intelligence. The aporias of computationalism as a theory for understanding the mechanisms of invention of the human brain have been frequently raised. In this session, we will focus on the role of imagination and dreaming in human ingenuity and their resistance to the computationalist model of intelligence, which dominates current innovation in artificial intelligence.
Speakers: David Bates (UC Berkeley), Pieter Lemmens (Radboud University, Nijmegen)
Discussant: Julia Irwin (UC Berkeley)
Lunch break from 12:35 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
3. Third session : “The psychedelic experience for computer research” /from 2 p.m. to 4.10 p.m.
Computer science research in cybernetics is particularly interested in new conceptualizations and modeling of human-computer interactions and artificial intelligence. This session will aim to present recent research on the critique of recursivity and computationalism in computer theory and recent processes of artificial imagination, in order to show the limits of existing models, but also present for the development of new computer models that focus on psychedelic processes.
Speakers: Eric Rawn (UC Berkeley), Giuseppe Longo (CNRS, AAGT, France), Marie Chollat Namy (AAGT, France)
Discussants: Eric Rawn (UC Berkeley) et Igor Galligo (UC Berkeley, Noцdesign)
10-minute break
4. “Representations of psychedelic process in artistic research” / from 4:.20 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Entropy and negentropy are complex dynamics that are difficult to grasp. The same goes for cognitive automation and cognitive bifurcation. In this session, we wish to solicit artistic research as an art of representation allowing us to see and to imagine new dialectics between entropy and negentropy, automation, di- automation, and cognitive bifurcation.
Speakers: Sanford Kwinter (Pratt Institute, New York), Greg Niemeyer (UC Berkeley), Rodolfo Augusto Melo Ward de Oliveira (UC Los Angeles)
Discussant: Victoria Vesna (UC Los Angeles)