This week’s death of Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, the chemist in Berkeley who is credited with developing the party drug ecstasy, reminded us of a 2005 piece he wrote for MIT Technology Review (“Abused Substances”) in which he argued that the so-called war on drugs inhibited research into potentially beneficial psychedelic compounds. At the time, clinical trials were examining whether psychedelic drugs could be used to help people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and Shulgin hoped that medical and legal winds would shift in favor of his kind of research.
That hasn’t really borne out. But read the piece anyway for a lesson on the difference between entactogens, empathogens, and entheogens.
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free
Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3
Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging
The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.