Scientists Michael Schartner and Christopher Timmermann of the International Brain Laboratory in Champalimo, Lisbon, have proposed using artificial intelligence to study how the effects of psychedelic drugs alter people’s minds. But not as a source of computing power, but as a test subject – the AI wants to enter into a state similar to psychedelic trance. Specific technical means have not yet been presented, but the idea itself is already in development.
In the modern view, human consciousness is based on the use of an internal model of the world. With the help of sensory information from the outside, it is constantly updated and refined, which allows us to think in advance of actions and their consequences in order to make decisions. However, the process of receiving data can be disrupted, which happens when taking psychedelics. This leads to changes in the assessment of the world around him and his actions, the model fails, and the person begins to behave in a new way, not always realizing it.
The problem is that scientists do not know the mechanisms for building and updating this internal model, since there is no reliable source of information. Patients of psychiatrists can only describe their experiences, emotions; today there is no technical possibility to look into their brain. But this can be done in the case of a deep learning neural network, which in special cases works almost identically to human consciousness.
Schartner and Timmerman point out that neural networks have already become a “workhorse” in the study of various aspects of learning and information perception. It is time to take a step forward and see how such a virtual artist or musician will behave, if he is given psychedelics – to distort the model of information perception. Unlike humans, AI experiments can be carried out in any quantity and scale, and this can provide clues to what exactly is happening in the human brain.
Materials on the work of Schartner and Timmerman were published in the scientific journal Neuroscience of Consciousness.