Digital Capitalism to Acid Communism

with Emma Stamm
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Guest Introduction.

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:

  • How psychedelics provide an “empirical refutation of digital positivism”
  • Whether consciousness exists on a spectrum from ‘less to more’
  • What data capitalism is, what psychopower is, and how this new paradigm might impact consciousness


Time map.

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?

Links from the conversation.
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