Team Member:​​​​​​​ Audrey Gordon
Instructor:​​​​​​​ Sara Johnson
This work originated as a course project: choose an emerging technology and forecast its impact in 2040. Working on a team of two, I used back-casting and future-casting methods to explore how psychedelic therapy might change the course of mental healthcare.
Project Phases
Psychedelic use has had many different influences over the years, so I organized my secondary research across seven different periods using an era map.
Finding #1: Historical prevalence
Cultures across history have used psychedelics, but societal guide-rails are needed to prevent bad experiences.
Finding #2: perceptions of safety
Psychedelics are largely safe when used responsibly, but unregulated use has led to negative perception of these drugs (including legal prohibitions).
Finding #3: Societal effects
Despite these stereotypes, the discovery and proliferation of psychedelics had far-reaching cultural and industrial effects, ranging from 60's counterculture movements to (possibly) the birth of Silicon Valley.
Finding #4: Medical Use
Psychedelics are an effective way to treat mental illness and have the potential to revolutionize psychiatry.
Drawing on this research, Audrey and I performed further analysis using two different frameworks.

Using the PESTLE framework, we investigated the societal and environmental context of psychedelic therapy.

Using trend cards, we summarized recent shifts in mental healthcare.

Working at the intersection of our identified trends, Audrey and I created a speculative product: Dakota, the AI-powered therapist. Using back-casting, we explored the political and technological context for this concept.
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