INKtalks on Role of Technology during this crisis
WITFluence by Wequity
Elevate by Target Corporation
British Deputy High Commission
Global Entrepreneurship Summit, IIT
National Retail Federation
Techfest, IIT Bombay
INK 2019 Within & Beyond
IMA India CEO Forum

Magic #mushrooms are following the path shown by #cannabis. Growers of the #psychedelic ‘shroom’ want to market the active ingredient, #psilocybin, to countries where it is legal, while also hoping that US cities will decriminalize it sooner than later.⠀

Psilocybin is illegal in the US (except in Denver and Oakland) and #Canada. It is legal in #Jamaica, #Brazil, and The #Netherlands. Now, #Anahit Therapeutics, backed by financial muscle from #New Wave Holdings Limited, Canada, has zoomed in on Jamaica to set up a state-of-the-art farm and extraction facility. ⠀

So, why the excitement surrounding psilocybin? Now, researchers believe they’ve uncovered how psilocybin, the active chemical in shrooms, causes that mind-bending sensation that researchers call “ego dissolution” — findings they say could help explain the growing evidence for the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs.⠀

This naturally occurring #psychoactive and #hallucinogenic compound can be used as pharmaceuticals for a range of treatments, from #depression to eating disorders. It’s also a #relaxant and #recreational drug. ⠀

‘Mind-bending’ drugs have always been sought after by humans, perhaps to seek release from the drudgery of life. The quest for happiness, love and higher levels of consciousness is a never ending one. ⠀

In conjunction to this, read about the #Happiness Pill in WhereWillManTakeUs? (link in bio) #nonfiction #bestseller

Some inventions transcend their domains of genesis and contribute immeasurably in other fields as well. #CRISPR, essentially a #gene-editing technology, is being applied to grow disease-resistant crops, cure #cancers, and do diagnostic testing for the #COVID-19 virus. Now it is being called to duty as a #conservation and resource management tool.⠀

In a study involving fish that look identical to the Delta Smelt, researchers are using it as a rapid detection apparatus ‘to genetically distinguish threatened fish species from similar-looking non-native species in nearly real time, with no need to extract #DNA.’ ⠀

Lead author, Melinda Baerwald of UC, Davis, says, "When you're trying to identify an endangered species, getting it wrong is a big deal." The CRISPR-based detection platform #SHERLOCK (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter Unlocking) makes this a breeze. Normal sampling can take hours as testing needs to be done in labs located elsewhere. ⠀

With SHERLOCK species identification is accomplished in 20 minutes, non-invasively, at remote locations. A handheld fluorescence reader or a flow strip does the job effectively. This technology can also be used at border crossings to prevent animal #poaching or transference of #pathogens through animal species. ⠀

Read about how CRISPR is facilitating medical science in #WhereWillManTakeUs? (link in bio) #kindle #nonfiction #bestseller

The #MaxPlanck Institute for Biochemistry is at the forefront of many life-altering bioscience discoveries. This time they have taken #synthetic biology into the fountainhead of life itself. They have created an artificial genome which can not only sustain itself, but reproduce naturally.⠀

A research team has developed an in vitro system where self-preservation and reproduction can occur simultaneously. According to #Hannes Mutschler, head of #Biomimetic Systems, “Our system is able to regenerate a significant proportion of its #molecular components itself.” ⠀

In effect, the researchers have used modular #DNA blueprints in vitro to synthesize proteins known as DNA #polymerases efficiently. These polymerases can then replicate the DNA using #nucleotides (building blocks of DNA). The largest modular genome reproduced has 116,000 #base pairs, which is the genome length of a simple cell.⠀

Using mass #spectrometry the researchers were able to determine the amount of #translational factors present in the proteins to establish the self-replicating aspect. ⠀
The next step is to produce a minimal cell within an enveloped system that can consume nutrients and dispose waste. This then can be a platform for building complex life-like systems. ⠀

The confluence of #biology and #technology is changing our lives. Read #WhereWillManTakeUs? (link in bio)

Home confinement under the #COVID19 regime is bringing about changes to our lifestyles: how we work, communicate, entertain ourselves, and even what we eat. ⠀

The #fauxmeat or imitation-meat product industry, one of the beneficiaries of this crisis, is giving the livestock and meat-processing industry a mammoth shake-up. Livestock are being culled due to slowing of demand at retail stores, and the entire supply chain is on a shaky wicket.⠀

Americans are trusting plant-based protein foods, processed in high tech factories, over the traditional meatpacking industry which has many steps in its processing where contamination is deemed possible.⠀

Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, already quite entrenched before Covid, are seeing sales balloon. As per Nielsen, sales of alternative meat products in grocery stores sky-rocketed 264% in a period of 9 weeks. Beyond Meat’s first quarter sales were up 50% compared with last year’s. Impossible Foods saw an 18-fold increase in retail coverage since the beginning of 2020. ⠀

Customers, having tasted these meat substitutes in Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and Del Taco, are now preferring to stock them for home cooking. People who turned-up their noses at faux meat earlier are now having to eat humble-pie! #wherewillmantakeus

Video conferencing or video chats have become the default #collaborative platform for the #WFH regimen that #COVID19 has pushed us into. #Zoom has literally zoomed into our daily lives, and both a CEO and a grandmother can find reasons to be on it sometime during the day.⠀

Now, a new #AR/VR tool from a startup called #Spatial is augmenting the experience. You can shake hands or do high-fives, virtually, with colleagues or friends, without the disturbing the bottle of hand sanitizer. ⠀

According to Anand Agarawala, Spatial’s CEO: “Zoom is not a good replacement for being in the office with other people, whereas something like #VR gives you that level of presence and personification." It’s good for small-group conversations or big #webinars.⠀

Spatial was an #enterprise-only service to connect team members worldwide, but WFH has increased its demand by 1000 percent. While mixed-reality headsets like Microsoft's #HoloLens or #Oculus Quest are great for this, Spatial has announced support for web browsers on desktops, #Android and #iOS. And in these times of COVID, it absolutely free and open to everyone. ⠀

So, now watch yourself in #3D: choose fabulous backdrops, play with objects, and move around, for a more immersive experience. #wherewillmantakeus

Love him or hate him, dis him or extol him, you have to agree that Elon #Musk knows how to grab headlines. They range from bizarre to the outlandish, and from possible to the improbable. Here’s a new one which will make you sit up!⠀

In the #Independent the headline has this effervescence: Elon Musk predicts human #language will be obsolete in as little as five years: 'We could still do it for sentimental reasons.' ⠀

To be fair, on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he said five to ten years, “if the development continues to accelerate”. ⠀

Musk, who is invested heavily into #BMIs through #Neuralink, feels that a battery-powered chip could be implanted in the skull and electrodes could connect all parts of the #brain, as early as next year. ⠀

It could fix anything in the brain, initially injuries and #disorders, but later it would be capable of much more. For example, #speech could give way to thought communication with greater precision. That’s when he mentioned the five-ten year time frame.⠀

I am wondering, if language is only a communication tool? Remember, there is no other organism in the natural world that has developed language. The #evolutionary gift of language plays a huge role in the development of our #brain and our #imagination. #wherewillmantakeus

LSD was discovered by Albert Hoffman in 1943. Despite the social brouhaha surrounding it since the sixties, its psychoactive effects have helped understand #consciousness, #psychopathology, and the treatment of mental illness. ⠀

The potential for using LSD as a ‘#microscope’ to study more areas of the mind did not emerge as a powerful tool till advancements were made in modern functional #neuroimaging. ⠀

The connectome — theoretical map of all connections in the brain — suggests that mental illness happens because of unusual wiring of the connections in the brain. LSD and other #psychedelics have the potential alter those links. An fMRI technique called connectome-harmonic decomposition allows us to observe the alterations. ⠀

In a recent experiment, patients, when under the influence of LSD, experienced ‘repertoire expansion’. This means that areas usually out of reach become connected, that too in structured manner. In other words the connections are reorganised or ‘reset’. ⠀

LSD’s ability to reset connections within the brains of patients who suffer from mental health issues like #depression, substance-use #disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (#PTSD) makes it a #psychiatric marvel. ⠀

Much experimentation is still required to map the neurological reorganisation process as well as the subjective experiences when the effects of #LSD subside. #science #neurology #wherewillmantakeus

The world of ‘love’ #drugs, legal or illegal, #medicinal or #recreational, are based on a belief that is essentially #utopian. Whether the morals of society categorises them as legal or illegal, enhancers or crutches, these drugs are just #chemicals, and how we use them make all the difference. ⠀

Authors, Brian Earp and Julian Savulescu, in their book 'Love is the Drug', delve into this controversial pool of excitement to delineate how these drugs can provide positive outcomes towards our #love, #sex and #relationships. According to Savulescu, “We’re not talking about a chemical #utopia where everybody tries whatever drugs they want. But neither should individuals have to get a diagnosis in order to qualify for love drugs for medicinal purposes.” ⠀

Earp believes that the “sense that love is this disembodied thing that happens in a soul” is merely sentimental, and the time has come when we should be able to chemically alter our feelings. There is increasing empirical evidence that these drugs have an effect on our #romantic #neurochemistry. They want a new category – for drugs that are welfare enhancers. ⠀

In #WhereWillManTakeUs? I have written about the ‘Happiness Pill’ in similar light. Do give it a read. (link in bio) #nonfiction #bestseller #kindle

The greatest highway ever created, the #internet, allows us to share information instantaneously. On the downside, sensitive information can be easily hacked, rendering the highway unreliable, or even dangerous. ⠀

#Physicists, using Quantum Mechanics, are trying to do something about it. They are looking to invent a virtually hack-proof internet.⠀

Very briefly, the key concepts that are being used are:⠀

1) Schrodinger’s Cat or Paradox: the dual nature of sub-atomic particles, in other words the superposition state.⠀

2) Quantum Entanglement: the “ethereal connection between two or more particles such that any action performed on one instantaneously affects the others, regardless of how far apart they are.” ⠀

3) Quantum Teleportation: the transferring a quantum state from one particle to another at a distant location, without sending the original particle.⠀

4) Quantum Memory: a device (laser-cooled rubidium atoms trapped in a vacuum) that stores the superposition of two states of an entangled pair.⠀

#Scientists have achieved entanglement of quantum memories over 50 km of fiber optic cable. However, #quantum teleportation of information between two nodes needs to be achieved to create a quantum relay system which would lead to a large scale network, or internet. ⠀

That’s not too far away. Simply mind-boggling! #quantummechanics