Media

#26: Media & Psychedelics with Casey Blustein

Hosted by Josh Gonsalves
11.30.2020
1 HR 59 MIN
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Episode Description

Josh is joined by Casey Blustein to talk about the state of the media industry in a post-COVID world, as well as psychedelics and how its medicinal use will be one of the biggest revolutions in our lifetime.

About Casey Blustein:

Casey Blustein is a Toronto-based producer, strategist and company builder currently helping accelerate and democratize psychedelic research at Quantified Citizen. Casey was part of the founding team of Transforms.ai, a studio-lab focused on the intersection of AI & storytelling. He spent his early career working with virtual reality content and products at Secret Location, and his projects have received accolades from the Canadian Screen Awards, the Venice International Film Festival and Neurips, among others.

Connect with Casey Blustein on Twitter

Check out Casey's essay on AI and Storytelling here

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  • In this episode, Josh interviews Casey Blustein. After working at the Emmy winning VR studio 'Secret Location', and artificial intelligence startup  'Transforms.AI', Casey has just recently taken his talents to Quantified Citizen: a new tool aimed at accelerating scientific research efficiency through personal citizen empowerment.
  • 07:30: Casey truly believes in the crusade for psilocybin legalization. He says 'It's this missing piece in the health-care system.'
  • 12:14: Quantified Citizen allows citizen scientists and researchers to create their own studies and participate in others'. Information and participation made easy.
  • 15:00: Casey's first VR experience.
  • 17:00: Casey gives a brief overview of his transition from VR in the early days, to machine learning and AI more recently, and finally psychedelic research currently. He clearly has an itch for being involved with new industries... a true pioneer.
  • 23:30: Casey thinks a lot of people get caught up in the sexiness when it comes to machine learning, but in the end it all boils down to math.
  • 25:35: Casey tried combining VR and Psychedelics at burning man!
  • 33:50: VR is progressing fast. The tech and content are both there, and systems like the Oculus Quest 2 are pretty reasonably priced. Josh thinks it's just a matter of cultural adoption.
  • 40:00: Discussions around the metaverse and blockchain. Is this the future? In order to transfer concepts of ownership into a virtual space, we need to think about what exactly people are willing to buy... what people want to stake their claims on.
  • 47:00: 'Whats next?' Casey thinks that entertainment forms which don't involve the viewer actively (Film, TV) are on the way out, and 'gaming' is on the way in.
  • 52:50: Josh is thinking a lot about the digital versus in person dichotomy. We are social creatures, and COVID has presented us with a stark depiction of our own digital futures. We need to think about this stuff.
  • 55:00: Casey is truly passionate about the healing powers of psychedelics, and feels fortunate to be able to work on the cause. "The modes of therapy that are being created around (them) right now are amazing." Here Josh and Casey contrast psychedelic therapy with the pharmaceutical approach.
  • 59:30: The first goal is legalization.
  • 62:00: Casey uses psychedelics when he needs to meditate on an important life decision. He feels much more in control on mushrooms are opposed to marijuana.
  • 62:05: Try not to set expectations. Both in psychedelic trips and in life.
  • 69:00: Casey talks about his transition from consuming film to gaming. Both Josh and Casey believe that gaming is going to continue to grow its share of the entertainment industry more and more as the technology evolves. GTA5 is the largest grossing media product to date, and gaming is only getting bigger.
  • 71:00: Gaming business models.
  • 72:20: Josh is pretty pissed off by monopolies ripping off independents & small-scale developers. How can we support an ecosystem that way? We've seen this especially in the film and music industries in the past decade.
  • 78:20: Josh is a HUGE Notion nerd. He loves finding new tools and gadgets. Casey loves to look into Slack and Discord communities. He also things Twitter and Tech Crunch are great resources for keeping up to date on breaking news and fresh info.
  • 81:25: Twitter made a huge comeback for Josh this past year. The connections he's forged through Twitter have been a huge part of making the podcast happen the way it has.
  • 84:00 It's very hard to distinguish any sort of truth these days. Fact checking, language, descriptions... it seems like both Josh and Casey agree the best approach to all this is to open oneself up to diverse ideas from every angle.
  • 86:45: Politics in Canada.
  • 90:20: Casey hasn't had a single 'awakening' moment per say. He feels his spirituality has developed slowly over time through travel as well as psychedelic use. Travel especially: its such a rich experience seeing what life is like at the other end of the globe. For Casey his travels have been particularly enlightening.
  • 96:00: Casey is trying to be more mindful with his travel. Going somewhere with a purpose and really getting to know the setting and the people there. It's not about how many places you visit, it's about the quality of the experience and the relationships you forge. Instead of running through 5 countries in 3 weeks, why not try living somewhere new for a couple months?
  • 103:00 A dive into Casey's productivity approach and Notion cults. He mentions affinity for MIT Tech Review, Tech Meme, Business Insider (pre-paywall obscenity), and Collider for new article reads.
  • 110:10: Josh's book recommendation: The Future is Faster Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Also The Buddha and the Badass by Vishen Lakhiani.
  • 112:20: Casey is currently reading Infinite Jest by DFW. He is also waiting on Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. He also recommends Hacking Darwin by Jamie Metzl.

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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