Is Google’s new image recognition technology related to visual phenomena associated with the hallucinogenic experience?

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Question:

Have you seen this recent news article regarding google images and neural networks?

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/18/google-image-recognition-neural-network-androids-dream-electric-sheep

Do you think this could explain most if not all visual phenomena associated with the hallucinogenic experience? The images in this article look eerily similar to imagery seen in the be mushroomed state, don't you think?

I'm interested to know your viewpoints and opinions on the matter.

Answer:

Very interesting article indeed, and it leaves plenty of room for discussion and theorization. This is just one opinion:

Google works on image recognition through computer science but then, because the algorithm is still going through an optimisation process, the “imperfect” results seem indeed similar to hallucination images.

First of all, this may be an open door, but I’d like to clarify this anyway: it’s not that our brain works the same way, and that LSD makes your brain work “imperfect” resulting in this type of imagery: mistaking one shape for the other. It’s not that simple.

When taking a psychedelic substance such as LSD or psilocybin, your brain makes associations that it normally wouldn’t. Research indicates that most of the time, our substance induced “hallucinations” are based on things you already know (it’s rare to “see” things you’ve never ever seen or imagined before). The familiar images are being stretched, deformed, differently coloured, moving, etc… so in a way your brain recycles, reuses and reshapes images from your brain’s database.

Not enough research has been done find out whether your brain on LSD is actually performing the same image recognition actions as Google image recognition. Personally I think that Google’s algorithm is largely based on shape recognition and repetition only, while our own brain on LSD takes our entire (human) perception into the mix such as taste, hear, smell, touch AND perhaps the most important: our thinking and reflection on it as it happens. One thing is certain, our brain is still more complex than the most advanced computer algorithm.