On this episode, I’m joined by Emma Stamm to discuss data capitalism, acid communism, and the psychedelic ties between them.
Emma holds a PhD in cultural & social thought, and works at the intersections of the philosophy of technology, critical theory, and science and technology studies. She has taught at both NYU & Virginia Tech, and is now a professor in the philosophy department at Villanova University.
Our conversation explores the relationship between data capitalism & consciousness, using psychedelic science as a way of illuminating those aspects of consciousness that cannot be rendered via data's language. We also discuss:
6:30 - What role do technology and data play in the centuries-long dynamic between consciousness and capitalism? How are digital technologies ushering in a new era of how capitalism interacts with subjectivity?
18:00 - What is “digital” capitalism? What makes it different from previous forms of capitalism?
29:40 - What can psychedelic drug research tell us about the consequences of digitization?
33:00 - What is “digital positivism”?
36:30 - Can we measure the ‘vitality’ of consciousness, and represent it in data format?
41:40 - On the ‘reducing valve theory of consciousness’
48:50 - The relationship between data capitalism and psychedelic consciousness - how algorithmic determinism mirrors hyper-priors in predictive processing models of cognition.
56:00 - Why capitalism is a fundamentally ‘conservative’ system, and how algorithms reinforce this conservatism.
58:15 - On acid communism.
1:24:48 - What is “psychopower” in the context of digital capitalism?
Emma’s website / Twitter / Essay for Commune Magazine on Acid Communism
Emma’s talk, “The Data-Image: Thought as Currency in the Age of Datafication.”
Mark Fisher’s writing on Acid Communism / his book Capitalist Realism
Byung-Chul Han’s Psychopolitics
My conversation with the philosopher of cognitive and psychedelic science, Chris Letheby