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.