CASE EXAMPLE LOCATION: Silicon Valley, California
California and in particular Silicon Valley has long been at the forefront of innovation. Recent use of a new “technology” is gaining momentum and it may hold the keys to better understand how we can make cities smarter. Surely GDP isn’t a sole measure of success but Silicon Valley and California have been studied and well documented to be far in excess of what some countries generate. The fact that Silicon Valley corporations have drawn top talent from around the world and in turn they built a subculture operating on success principals directly tied to a willingness to experiment is unique. This approach has generated innovations that have many times over changed our planet so surely within are insights on how to make a smart city.
TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION: Microdosing
Increasingly professionals in Silicon Valley are taking small doses of psychedelic drugs in an attempt to increase performance. The mass media (Huffington Post, BBC, and Rolling Stone) is well aware of it and drivers to increase creativity, multi-tasking, and focus are are behind this movement. This practice, known as “microdosing,” fits all to well with the already pervasive agile software development subculture, venture capital market outputs, and the solution is far from high-tech. The method is quite straight-forward; minute quantities of drugs such as LSD, psilocybin (i.e. magic mushrooms), or mescaline (sourced from a Peyote cactus) are taken regularly, just like most take a morning vitamin.
SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) & 2030
People are in denial, time lacks to use education based methodologies as a means to build capacity, and raising awareness is a tedious and long-term challenge. The World Bank has tried for decades to meet these challenges with hit and miss success. Insufficient economic support exists to solve at scale infrastructure transformation and even if the means of building capacity were free through means such as online education it would still lack the human experience based elements required to change human behavior.
In the period of time we’ve left to work up solutions that can respond to climate change or meet the SDGs we need much more corporate, citywide, regional, state, and federal engagement. The effort to sync policy for just the 2030 targets is daunting and already many think tanks engaged have concluded we are likely to fail. There is an increasing number of institutions and experts starting to conduct gap analysis reports and thus we’ve turned the corner, all evidence transcends wondering if climate change exists. Science now seeks to determine what the worst and best case scenarios will could like in the years to come. Earth needs a “quick fix” and societies respond well the belief that simple solutions exist so working toward motivating people to change, finding techniques to catalyze increased awareness, and make people “smarter” to the challenges is critical. The development of sustainable solutions lies in the challenge of how to best learn from those with a history of sustainable thinking, a methodology to economic success, and who demonstrate the ability to make change at scale. Manufacturing that recipes they use and distributing them on a global basis just might be the magic bullet, otherwise the world we are about to leave to those who shall live in 2050, especially when accounting for population growth, is frightening to ponder.
IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS: Pilot Science Based Clinical Studies
Clinical research with psychedelics was stopped in the 1960s and many of the substances were scheduled by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) as Schedule 1. This means at present there are no legal routes forward with this microdosing technology but some experiments are surfacing. In fact, now that we’re past the rush of popular cultures interest in the 1960s psychedelic scene many of these substances have been significantly altered in their use and societal acceptance. Recent interests are now supported by rigorous scientific research and pharmaceutical scale financial support. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a premier solution provider for any implementation plans and can aide in the development of pilot study experiments with this microdosing technology. Further research can develop understanding how microdosing may impact people’s choices to engage in environmental issues and ultimately reveal what’s behind the making of one of the smartest regions in the world, Silicon Valley. Take note, no research exists today on microdosing, it’s a newly developing technology.
STAKEHOLDERS: Famous Technologists as Leaders to Market Adoption
Silicon Valley has a history of psychedelic drug use and famous people have attested to the use having direct impact on their ability to become more creative and contribute. Some of the founding pillars in our technology world today are people such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, famously attributed to their own personal experiments with LSD. Engaging high-profile supporters in partnership with clinical organizations such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) would be sufficient start to establish case studies that will comply with the standards created by the FDA.
From there, based on success in treatment and use studies, the means to further promote and engage stakeholders in the use of this technology as well as how to best apply it to make cities smarter is nearly brainless in effort. There are hordes of people willing to experiment with these substances at much higher dosages and use them for recreational purposes, garnering interest in microdosing and recruiting subject cities, regions, states, countries, etc. is a matter of presenting science results and signing up participants.