Journalist and author Michael Pollan talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher about his new book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.” Pollan, perhaps best known for his books about food, like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” says the new book traces his learning process as he tried to understand why almost every human society has experimented with mind-altering substances. Silicon Valley is certainly no exception: Pollan says that tech pioneer Ampex was ground zero of the tech scene’s experimentation with LSD, starting in the 1950s; engineers discovered that dropping acid helped them design the first computer chips, and shared this finding with Doug Engelbart, who would go to invent the mouse, the graphical user interface and key components of the internet. Pollan also talks about the broader medical, political and social implications of using psychedelics, and how they might one day become legal and more socially acceptable in America.
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