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Digital Clones, Creativity, and Self Care

April 26, 2021
Taryn Southern


This week our guest is musical artist, filmmaker, digital storyteller and all around renaissance woman, Taryn Southern. You may recognize her from early career with American Idol or from her Youtube videos which have garnered over 750 million views.

But in recent years, Taryn became the first person to create an entire musical album composed by an artificial intelligence and she led the groundbreaking production of I AM HUMAN—a 2019 documentary exploring brain computer interfaces. In this episode, we explore her latest work using an AI-powered digital clone of herself and much more, including self-care and using influence for good.

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Host: Steven Parton // Music by: Amine el Filali


The following transcription was created automatically. Please be aware that there may be spelling or grammatical errors.


people, technology, terran, ai, clone, life, talking, psychedelics, love, real, world, conversation, taryn, question, bit, companies, thinking, digital, community, sense


Steven Parton, Taryn Southern

Taryn Southern  00:00

I would love a world where AI Terran can do a better job than real Terran at performing with zero energy expenditure required for me, where I get to focus only on writing, and like creative production.

Steven Parton  00:30

Hello everyone, you're listening to the feedback loop on singularity radio, where we keep you up to date on the latest technological trends and how they're impacting the transformation of consciousness and culture from the individual to society at large. This week, our guest is musical artist, filmmaker, digital storyteller and all around Renaissance woman, Taryn Southern, you may recognize her from American Idol or from her YouTube videos, which have garnered over 750 million views. Importantly, for this community turns efforts of late have been incredibly focused on exploring the intersection of technology and human potential. For instance, she was the first person to create an entire musical album composed by an artificial intelligence she led the production of I am human, a 2019 documentary exploring brain computer interfaces. And most recently, she launched a new web series that will be hosted by an AI powered digital version of herself. As you can imagine, such an ambitious career takes its toll. And unfortunately, Taryn was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer shortly after the launch of her recent documentary, she's doing great now with the cancer in remission after a year of treatment. But I think this is worth mentioning, just to give you a bit of perspective on the conversation we'll be having, specifically because one of the things we'll be talking about is how to take care of yourself. As an ambitious entrepreneur. We also discussed her thoughts around being digitally cloned, about the creative potential that exists within that space, and about psychedelics and the power of mixing Eastern and Western philosophies. As we push into the future. Taron exudes a deep curiosity and an infectious buoyancy that made this conversation an absolute pleasure to be a part of, and I suspect that you, dear listener, will walk away feeling equally invigorated and inspired. So without further ado, please welcome Taryn Southern. So I saw recently that you just launched a brand new series, I think, on YouTube, where you have a virtual reality, artificial intelligence clone version of yourself presenting some kind of new series. Can you tell us more about that?

Taryn Southern  02:49

Yeah, so this project started at the beginning of COVID, as well, I had received an intro to this company based in Israel, asking me if I'd be interested in having a chat with them about their AI video cloning technology, I went to the website, I was totally spooked by what was possible with their tech, I was just, there was actually a Turing test that you could take where you could try to distinguish between the real human in the AI human and I failed it every single time I took the test. And at that point, I was intrigued by what could be done in in video, but it didn't seem like we were far enough along, based on my own experiences with the various companies in this space. And deep fake technology always had this kind of funky look to it, where you're like, yeah, I can tell it's fake. You know, I mean, it's cool, but funny, but it's fake. This was the first time I was, like, pretty blown away. And so I get on a call with them. And after a series of calls, of course, many of which were really developing, developing a relationship and a sense of trust. And, you know, what, what are we doing this for? What's the larger message here? And what kind of protections are in place for me? But we ultimately decided to embark on this creative exploration creative journey together, that I think will look like a series a new series presented by my clone with real life correspondents. Exploring cutting edge science and tech headlines and looking at the series is tentatively titled Is this for real? And it's designed to be a conversation starter around everything that's happening in the emerging technology space that that brings us to our knees and makes us ask like, is this real and do we care? Everything from you know, lab grown meat to synthetic video to synthetic biology, and everything in between. And how that will affect our lives and lifespans and all of that.

Steven Parton  05:04

Yeah. What I was curious about when you were talking about this is the privacy for you that you mentioned. What do you feel personally about having your persona out there? Where, I guess potentially at this point, that team could just type something up? And it can be you saying it?

Taryn Southern  05:22

Correct? Correct? how's

Steven Parton  05:24

it gonna go? A little therapist here? And how does that make you feel?

Taryn Southern  05:28

Um, no, I mean, that is, that is the, that was the foundation of really what our conversations were in the beginning of getting to know each other, it's also going to be the foundation of how anyone, I guess, decides to incorporate this technology, and in some extent, or another. You know, the reality is, because I was a former YouTuber, I've got hundreds of pieces of video content up online, perhaps maybe not all in five 4k resolution. And there are certain technical requirements to be able to do AI cloning in a way that's, that works and looks good. But theoretically, any company that's, that's developing this technology and doing it, well could just simply download all of my content ingested into the algorithm, and create a Terran clone without my permission. That's the really scary use case. In this case, I just have to get really comfortable with, you know, with the company that I'm working with, and of course, their contracts and things like that, to protect the underlying IP, and to ensure that I have control over how that avatar is used, and in what ways. So we, you know, we thought through all of those things, and of course, that's part of our engagement together. And I hope that that, you know, as an artist kind of venturing out and doing these crazy things, like my own attorney was like, oh, Terran, like, Why do you always have to set the precedent? And that's not always the case. But we were dealing with this with the AI music as well, like, how do we do deals that ensure that people after me, also aren't in any position of weakness? And that we're setting the stage for like a healthy relationship between companies and individuals around this stuff?

Steven Parton  07:17

Yeah, that seems like a potential nightmare. legally. I mean, well, legally, the International international cloning persona of another individual between country borders, what is your involvement, I guess, going to be at this point forward, you're talking about kind of having control moving forward, but are you going to be actively involved in? I guess, what is what? What is your role from this point forward? Now that this thing exists? How much are you needed?

Taryn Southern  07:50

Yeah, well, I mean, that I mean, this thing is a certainly a partnership between myself and our one. But ultimately, I own my avatar, I own what my avatar is able to do or say, and I can, you know, our one can bring the avatar opportunities. And then from there, it's like, almost like an agent agreement. At the end of the day, I still am my own, my own my own person. And it's suffice it I mean, we have no idea how these things will, will navigate and be used within the current ecosystem. And it might be a little while before that matures, and we figure it out. But in the meantime, I'm expecting it to look a lot like any other standard entertainment deal, where it's like, I'm licensing my name and likeness, my likeness, my avatar, to other companies, individuals for use on their projects. So long as I have you know, permission.

Steven Parton  08:47

Are you Are there any specific creative endeavors in the future? Or prospects that you're really excited to explore with this? Like, what kind of, I guess creative possibilities Do you see existing in the space now this is something that you have access to?

Taryn Southern  09:01

So many, I mean, it's just we're not, I don't know if we're totally there yet on the AI capture, because I think for the for the best for some of the most exciting possibilities, we really need to replicate my my mind, like for people to actually get the Terran avatar without without my involvement, there would have to be hundreds and hundreds of hours of, of mind capture, to understand well, what would Terran say in this event or that event? But I could, I could see Well, I mean, it would be really fun to be like a personal cheerleader or coach for people, you know, as they go about their day if they just if they want some encouragement, or some words of wisdom or some advice, you know, around whatever they're doing in the tech space.

Steven Parton  09:51

A little devil on the shoulder, and I just

Taryn Southern  09:53

appear on your phone and I'm like, it's okay, you can do it. And by the way, I'm not a personal coach whatsoever. I don't know what makes me But my avatar could suddenly enter that space and crush it. But I my friends come to me for that stuff. So I'd like to think that maybe in another world and another universe, I was a life coach and now I get to do it through my avatar, I think that would be super cool.

Steven Parton  10:14

You get to redefine yourself when you make a copy. Totally, I

Taryn Southern  10:17

mean, like, people don't know this, but my kind of my, the hobby that the long hobby that I've had for many years is sort of like bio hacking and therapy. It's like a combination of personal development, you know, and not just looking at optimization from a quantitative lens, but how do we improve like our souls and our insides and what's going on in there. So I have this like wealth of, of, I guess, it's a long history. And, you know, whether it's going through cancer, like, you know, a million other things that sort of prompted that that search, but I'd like to think I have some wisdom there that I can pass on. It's otherwise it's not fair. If it's just all for me.

Steven Parton  11:00

Yeah, you've done the work,

Taryn Southern  11:02

done some of it and know enough enough that it would be a trip. So that would be one fun use case. I could also see. I mean, I would I would love to have Terran Taron farmed out for projects that I actually am really excited about working on, but don't have the time to physically be available for and I don't love being in front of camera of the camera anymore. It's really my least favorite part of the production process. Well, fun, I apologize oil. It's okay. You know, I mean, like, I barely I didn't even put on, like proper pants for this podcast. So it's a little bit easier. I'm wearing sweat pants, right now, it's a little bit easier for me when we're doing things like this, but but just getting getting ready is one thing and trying to look nice and put together. It takes a lot of energy in front of the camera and to perform and beyond. And when I was doing it in my 20s, I was working in TV, film and digital. And I mean, I was so burnt out by the end of that, and I think a huge part of it is this like, okay, camera goes on. And now it's time to do this song and dance. And it doesn't it doesn't matter how exhausted you are, what kind of thing bad thing just happened to you, or what kind of mood you're in, you've got to turn it on. And I I definitely that affected me a lot. So I would love a world where AI Terran can do a better job than real Terran at performing with zero energy expenditure required for me, where I get to focus only on writing, and like creative production, basically directing like directing myself in a space. And because that's that's the fun part for me. And I spend most time doing that anyway,

Steven Parton  12:52

do you think you'd have any like residual FOMO? Or like sense of gratification knowing that that was out there? Do you think it'd be totally disconnected? Or do you think you'd have some like, I'm gonna drop this word, though I shouldn't quantum like link with your

Taryn Southern  13:07

Yeah, constantly. I mean, I would probably, I would probably just watch her performances and self critique and make sure that she knows you know how to improve every once in a while. It's like the stage mom. Yeah, I think great job. And you can do this a little bit better. And then I would turn it off when I wouldn't when I wouldn't have to engage.

Steven Parton  13:27

Yeah, you remember last time we talked, I closed the conversation or conversation with you interviewing your future self, or self interviewing you that's a process you do. And I was just now thinking you could actually do that. And what kind of therapy could exist if somebody could create a clone of themselves and honestly have like a, like a heart to heart with yourself?

Taryn Southern  13:49

Yes, I so I was kind of giving my views on what we could do with AI Terran. But I think from from like the societal lens, I'm really excited that you hit the nail on the head. I think if everyone had a digital clone of themselves, that appeared on their device, or whatever interface we used to navigate life, to offer a gentle nudges, for our thinking and our behavior. And it's coming from your own face and your own likeness. And you're, you're getting a sense of, we all have these kind of fractured parts of ourselves and sometimes the you know, the part of ourself that's the loudest or speaking up is just the tired part or the pmse part or, you know, whatever it's like not actually the, the, the, like fully integrated self that's speaking and so I love the idea of having having a clump, having like a better, higher version of all of ourselves, constantly talking to us and reminding us who we are.

Steven Parton  14:53

You mentioned before having the full brain scan version of yourself to take this to the next level. Would you sign up to that? Like, no question.

Taryn Southern  15:04

I, at this point, I had this point I would, I knew it sounds crazy, but I'm like, I kind of I feel like I've already gotten a taste of, of being, like on the outskirts of the matrix. And me sitting trying to figure out how to word this. Like, if you would have asked me a question three years ago, I would have given you five reasons what that why I wouldn't have or why I would have been really thoughtful before answering that question. And maybe now I'm just like, why not? Let's give it a try. Let's see what happens. It's just what do we have to lose? Probably reckless of me. But, you know, they do say, cancer patients who finish treatment and then enter life for like a year or two years after they tend to engage in more reckless thinking.

Steven Parton  15:55

I mean, understandable, though, right? You have

Taryn Southern  15:59

this embodied sense that life is precious, and that you might as well go out on a limb and do the crazy thing and, and like love and live and be passionate about everything that you can and and you sort of get the sense that there are very few, very few risks in life other than the ones that actually threaten your life.

Steven Parton  16:21

Well, you you find out what's a serious risk versus what's your self just kind of telling you that there's fear there. And that right, you know, you need to be careful when in reality, you're like, I've faced that fear. This is not this is not real fear. Yeah.

Taryn Southern  16:34

So skin, my brain, bring it on. Yeah, that's,

Steven Parton  16:37

that's fair. Do you think? Do you think there would be something lost in the social dynamic aspect of that, or maybe the sense of

Taryn Southern  16:49

saying, if I actually just downloaded myself so that I can, like continue living on as a cyborg version of Terran? Well,

Steven Parton  16:58

no, let's let's take it back a little bit more to what you currently are doing with the virtual clone. What do you think there's something lost in the fact that people aren't getting to interact with you because I actually watched your video. And I think like all of us, when you watch a YouTube video, the first thing you do is kind of check their first few comments just to like, see what's going on. And I noticed some people were saying, I want to say welcome back to you, Tara. And I want to say great job. But I guess I should save that for another time when I talked to the real, you know, the real you and it got me thinking that, you know, people are already in this moment where they're like, Well, I think I'm engaging with her, but I'm really not. And I guess in my mind, I'm wondering if there's some kind of disconnect or something we lose and not having you really they're not having the nuances of Terran knowing that Taryn may not have actually really been involved.

Taryn Southern  17:51

I think we do. Yeah, I think we 100% there's something that's lost and it's it's something that you can't even describe it's the awareness that it's not real it's there by the way, there are some things when I'm watching my clone I'm like, huh? No, like that's not that's not me. And you know, there there's some things about my voice and that don't that don't feel like a natural conversation. So that's one thing but let's assume that technically, the technology gets better and better to the point where it really is just uncanny valley like you cannot tell the difference. That being said, when someone knows it's not real I do think that it affects the experience and the the feeling that there's a real empathetic human behind the lens. And and that's why I do think that there will be a line in the sand between where AI clones and in humans begin and I think there will definitely be a need and a desire by people to, to engage with the real life thing we want. I think we want to engage with consciousness

Steven Parton  18:56

to see Yeah, there's I do really like that you're taking this from the angle though of liberating yourself to be more you because in a sense, I don't think you should feel obliged necessarily to have the video be for everybody else, you know, it should be okay to create something, I think that is just you wanting to create a piece of work and then maintain your own sense of autonomy behind it. So yeah,

Taryn Southern  19:22

it'd be interesting to we might, we might develop all new senses of meta awareness around this. So for instance, let's see, there was a watermark that indicated You know, this is a, an AI, human, or a virtual twin, or whatever you want to call it, but that the writing material is all it's written by the original human. And like, we start to develop a sense that this, this actually does come from the real soul and heart of someone. It's not just a script that was fed to them by a company that they're reading. I can see a world where we start to like get He's like more nuanced awarenesses of, of how we show up in the world and are okay and are somehow like more okay with that than the, than the AI human, it's not writing their own material. It's kind of like learning that your favorite singer doesn't write their own songs, you know, you're like, I'll still entertain myself with them. But man, you know, it's kind of heartbreaking like, you want it to really come from their soul.

Steven Parton  20:23

Yeah, actually, I think I would love that have been challenge you a little bit on it. Because, like you said, being on cameras, I know, when I record something that I've written or thought a lot about, I don't like it as much that I'm trying to perform it. Whereas if I could just take that script and give it to myself, and it would just create a video for me, like, I would be so much more productive and would get so many more ideas out into the world. Yeah, I

Taryn Southern  20:47

feel that I have a big, I'm the same way as you, I actually have a big block. And you think after years of doing this, that I wouldn't, but I have a big block around turning on a camera. And I will sound different. If I'm saying if you give me a script, and I'm just reading it, like a voiceover, it's going to come out way more natural than if there's a camera on me. And I'm reading it, it makes no sense. But there's so I would love Even if my AI. And if I just could record the voice and do that I would be happy with that. And then people could be like, well, we're hearing her real voice.

Steven Parton  21:17

And that's a good segue, in fact, to your kind of, I don't want to say rebranding, but maybe a new focus in your life, which is that combination of storytelling and technology, digital storytelling, I guess we would call it Where Where are things that would that right now? Like? I know, I know, you're focusing a lot on kind of transforming that, that practice for yourself, what are some of the projects that you're maybe working on or excited to explore?

Taryn Southern  21:49

I'm working on a bunch of different things right now. So So much so that I think I you know, as one does, when you come out of a long out of a long work drought, I don't know if you've ever had one of those where it's just been a period of nothingness. And when I was in my treatment, I pretty much I had just finished my movie, thank goodness. So I was able to get that done. And out to the world. While I was going through chemo, I was finishing it up for the distributor. And then I really took like, six, six months off six, nine months off, well, six months off, from all work to focus on healing and getting better and going through the daily grind of treatment. And then the pandemic hits, and then production shut down. So I was like, Well, I don't know what I'm gonna do now. So I kind of spent another three to six month meandering through pandemic weirdness being like, Okay, how do I put my career back together when everything's so wacky, and I think I was still dealing with, you know, unknownst, unbeknownst to me, it's still dealing with some of the, the hidden traumas of what I've been through. And then, you know, I started finally throwing darts at a wall last fall. And now, I've got a bunch of darts, and they're all there's a bunch of them are starting to stick. So it's kind of funny, but I'm sorry, it was a very long winded answer to your question. I've obviously been fascinated by emerging technology for a long time, and how to tell stories about technologies I'm excited about. So outside of the AI, video technology I'm working with, I'm working with a company called my good trust in the digital legacy space. And they basically preserve digital legacy in a myriad of ways. So helping people you know, helping family members get social media accounts back from loved ones who pass unexpectedly or or, you know, even known, that's like a whole process in and of itself. And sometimes it takes like, court cases with these social media sites to get these things back. But, but it can be really important to family members, when someone dies, to be able to make sure that their last post isn't like a, you know, a sponsored ad. For some weird thing, I mean, like making sure that there's a legacy there. So that's just be one example. But they're working on a number of different initiatives around digital legacy. And I think it's really important and death is something that we need to be able to have conversations about, and talk about and, and make sure that we're doing the right things around to protect not just ourselves, but our family and those that we love. And I'm also writing a book proposal on my East meets West pilgrimage from between science and spirituality. Essentially, trying to find meaning at the outer edges of science, and also figuring out what actually works in pragmatic terms. So it does involve my trip to, you know, my journey to Bali and kind of all of the things that I've picked up in between I'm very excited about that, but it's still in the very early stages, so didn't do it. pitching you

Steven Parton  25:02

know, US got me intrigued and that's a good pitch. That's actually my next question. And feel free to go as deep as you want. But can you I mean, for me this is this is a nerdy little admittance here but my like handle on games are like in discord and stuff like that is Cyborg mystic. Yeah, and it's all about my love of being on that boundary kind of that yin and yang Dallas in between technology and, you know, personal work and spirituality. So you're, you're speaking my language right now. And I I'd love to know, like, if you can expand and unpack a little bit what it means for you to have that meaning between East and West and and maybe that the broader thoughts that you're going to be exploring in the book?

Taryn Southern  25:50

Yeah, I mean, I well, and I'm still unpacking it myself. And I'm still I mean, because I feel like this was a it was, it'll be two years ago in June that I was diagnosed. So it's really been a year and a half will say, and so I'm still kind of processing everything I went through, and all of the various modalities that I that I used in an attempt to bring physical and emotional healing to my experience, meaning to my experience. But I, I'd say that, would I say, I mean, I think, as a longtime agnostic, I've tended to follow the path of science reason and pragmatism to overcome challenges. But when faced with this life threatening disease, and in my case of pretty intense depression for a period of that, I really found that that that my worldview wasn't enough. And that I needed something more. So my search was also an effort kind of wreck.

Steven Parton  27:09

I think I lost your audio for some reason, their turn.

Taryn Southern  27:11

Yeah, I was saying I was really forced to try to reconcile two paradoxical worldviews, each of which promised to transform pain. And we can be talking about this from the side of biological physical pain, and healing, like healing the physical cells in you know, cancer cells. And you can also talk about this from the side of like, the mental spiritual pain and trying to heal that. But the reality is, they're all intertwined. So then, what do you make of what do you make of these two views. And I think ultimately, this this longtime atheist found room for reason and magical thinking, in her healing journey. So the book is really about unpacking that. And along the way, also talking about the role of technology in that and, and what that means whether it's ancient technologies, like psychedelics to, you know, more modern ones, EMDR, and chemotherapy and hyperbaric oxygen treatments, and high dose vitamin C infusions, and $250 creams from Mexico. And I could go on and on and on,

Steven Parton  28:26

you were talking about self care there. And I think that's something that I found really interesting with this community lately is I've been doing a lot of like, meet and greets. And we could do virtual coffee houses where we have like these virtual networking events, so to speak. And one thing I'm finding really interesting is with the Singularity University community, it's a community focused on artificial intelligence, and 3d printing and all of these really complex, confusing technologies. But I am realizing what a lot of people want. And what a lot of people are actually looking for is more about personal development is still about self care is still it's this weird thing where, Yeah, go ahead.

Taryn Southern  29:13

Sorry, I was gonna ask you a question. What do you think is the draw for Do you think it's specifically people in that community that are more hungry for it or interested in that area? Or do you think that's a coincidence? And if you do think that there's kind of a higher volume of, of people in the singularity community and other, you know, trans tech communities to be interested in personal development and self development, what do you think that that link is? What does that tie?

Steven Parton  29:41

Definitely, you know, so one of our big focuses is impact. So it's, you know, Peter, Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil, their big thing was like, can you impact a billion people with technology that's, that was where Singularity University started. It's still there. It's still rooted in that idea, but the main thing, it's rooted in at His point is just doing something good for the world with technology. So I think that that audience is inclined to think about how we treat each other and think about these more social issues. But also, I think, interestingly, the AI stuff. It's hard not to go down that realm of looking at artificial intelligence of consciousness and starting to think about how you think, starting to wonder about what's this mean for what's, what's this bead for my life, if there can be an artificial clone, like we're getting to the point with these technologies that they kind of force philosophical, existential questions on you. And I think a lot of people who play in these waters, maybe they're just having ego deaths, maybe though, they're just being maybe their mystics, you know, fellow seekers, people who just want to do the work. But there's something about this paradigm we're entering into, I think that people are looking for maybe just some grounding amongst the chaos and like trying to understand what it all means. So

Taryn Southern  31:07

yeah, I agree. I agree. And we are we are exploring cognition from a place of like meta awareness. And so it would make more sense that we'd want to dive a little deeper into our own. That's cool.

Steven Parton  31:21

Yeah. Well, for you to what's another thing, obviously, in the community is the fact that these are like startup and entrepreneur type folks. Which means people who bust their ass, working really hard on things, probably more than they should and more than is healthy, which is something I think you can relate to, yes. I would love to hear your thoughts about kind of your journey, maybe on self care, and some of these modalities that you're talking about that have helped you maybe step back from that overworked, overstressed lifestyle, and maybe helps you heal mentally, physically, or just be a better person.

Taryn Southern  32:01

Sure, I mean, Oh, my gosh, there's so many different modalities. And depending on where you're at, and your own journey, some might be more helpful than others. And depending on what your goals are, I will tell you a couple have been profoundly helpful and insightful for me, and then I'll tell you, more of what I, what I incorporate day to day or week to week that don't require don't require a lot of hand holding at this point. So you know, you know this I'm a huge advocate of psychedelics and psychedelic research, I, like many people have had profound experiences on psychedelics, I wouldn't say that they've all been helpful, though, in my healing journey. In fact, I would argue that there are a few that I would that were not helpful or even counterproductive, were these

Steven Parton  32:47

just bad trips or different kinds of didn't work well with you.

Taryn Southern  32:52

I don't even know if we'd call them bad trips. Maybe I mean, but what is a bad trip because like a bad trip Can you can go through a really hard experience that, that teaches you like some really valuable lessons that you take back with you into regular life, and then that bad trip is incredibly insightful. So I don't even see a bad trip as a as a negative experience, unless if it's just devoid of meaning. And that's kind of what happened to me on a five Meo DMT experience, very short, but I did it twice, and both times it was just, it was just sheer terror was devoid of, you know, any, any meaning. So I never really found any purpose in that particular experience. And then there are some other sprinkled along the way actually with psilocybin and I'm trying to think of mainly psilocybin, which is interesting, because it's, you know, I know it's a really profoundly helpful drug for a lot of people. But I have found a lot of healing in a few, a few psilocybin experiences. I Alaska, has been very healing for me, I just did another journey recently, that I absolutely loved and taught me a lot. I did do several sessions of licensed ketamine therapy here in Los Angeles, the IV infusions with a therapist found those to be really remarkable. But I think that it's like, you know, they put you on a rocket ship, and then you like, unpack a bunch of stuff, and then nothing in your ordinary life will change if that stuff isn't integrated or isn't worked through. So it's kind of a giving you a nice place to start in many cases. But I found that the work pistol continued quite a lot after that. Yeah. So anyway, the psychedelic experiences breathwork my number one thing it doesn't require ingesting a plant medicine. It doesn't require anything except for you and You're seeing co2. It's fantastic.

Steven Parton  35:03

Yeah, what kind of breathing exercises that you've been doing. I've worked with

Taryn Southern  35:07

a bunch of different practitioners. So they do different types of breath recommenders different names for it, whether it's holotropic, or slow. There's even like slow breath, work heart, open breath work. I can't remember all the different names, but and they're all slightly different, but and some are more subtle than others. But I don't know if you've ever done breath work, but it's like, it can be very intense. And even when it's not intense, even when it's been more subtle, I've still found it to be regulatory, in terms of where it takes me, I've, I have come up with a number of solutions to problems while engaging in breathwork. So you know, I don't totally understand the mechanism behind that. But But of course, like anytime you're depriving or feeding a ton of oxygen into the brain, you are going to have some psychological effects. But I have found them to be really insightful. And I would say to anyone who wasn't interested in going the psychedelic route, for whatever reason, that breathwork is another really powerful exercise. And then day to day, week to week in my ordinary life, like I'm a big believer in therapy, it's just about finding the right type of therapy, and person that you're working with, and the kinds of frameworks that you want to adopt in your everyday life. And, like positive visualization, word replacement, finding words that have become part of your daily lexicon, and replacing them with, with more empowering words and images. There's a word for the therapy that I'm thinking about.

Steven Parton  36:40

It's not a CBT is cognitive, behavioral

Taryn Southern  36:44

CBT. It's somatic somatic therapy, where, where you're teaching your body, a new response to a traumatic event, or memory, which can create a really interesting new feedback loop similar to the replacing the scary word or the bad image in your brain, this time, you're actually replacing the physiological response to a trigger or trauma. And that's a really interesting one. And once you do it with a therapist, then you can of course, go home and like practice and do it some more until you get and then I think talking to like, finding the parts of yourself that like the parts of yourself that are waking you up in the middle of the night with uneasy thoughts, like giving that part of yourself a name personifying it, figuring out where did that, like, Is that part of yourself that eight year old part that got teased on the playground or the 12 year old who, like learned that she could be a bully for the first time, like, which part of yourself is speaking and, and start to look at those, those pieces of anxiety or anger, regret whatever they are, is like individually individuating them and speaking to them and acknowledging them and saying, What are you trying to tell me? And like, usually they they are there other intelligent little beings who are trying to tell you something, and they may just not have great tools because they're eight, or 12

Steven Parton  38:09

because you've suppressed them in silence them so they go because

Taryn Southern  38:12

you silence them because they're so uncomfortable. And so I named my, you know, the thing that I deal with more prominently as anxiety and I used to call my anxiety for the longest time, Mr. scary, but now I'm starting to realize that my anxiety really just takes the form of an eight year old Terran who's like, very terrified of conflict and hurting other people's feelings. And so you know, I have to just talk to her. And, and frequently it does help.

Steven Parton  38:39

Sounds like Mr. Scary is more like Mrs. vulnerable.

Taryn Southern  38:42

Yeah, Mrs. vulnerable. And I have and I can picture her in my mind, and it's like, the everything that she's wearing and her nervousness, and it's just like, it all makes sense. I'm like, of course,

Steven Parton  38:55

it's no wonder that you're, you're so ready to embrace the therapy where people kind of fragment themselves into different parts of themselves, they can talk to as AI. It's like, that's already what you do. Yeah,

Taryn Southern  39:07

Taryn, I have multiple terrines. Anyway, so that's fine.

Steven Parton  39:11

You were I know, when you did your bit of a segue here. I know when you were doing your announcement about more of your digital storytelling that you're doing these days. You were also talking about converting attention into impact. And I know where you're just talking about impact and capturing attention. You know, naturally when you hear those words, these days, I kind of feel like there's maybe a bit a bit of a like, you pull away a little bit when you hear capturing attention because you think of attention economy and you think of like I've been hijacked somebody is making me think about things I don't want to think about or just people stuck staring at their phones. But I'd like that you reframed it into converting into impact. And I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit more about what that looks like to you.

Taryn Southern  39:58

Yeah, and I appreciate that I, I also sort of flinch at the attention economy stuff, but the reality is like, we're still living in that space, where attention matters. And so I really do look at it from from the lens of impact, like we're all playing this attention game. Like it or not, I mean, unless if you've completely removed yourself from, from the world, because if you if you work for a company that's like, on social media, or needs to build an audience, if you even if you're not doing it yourself, you're building product, or you're supporting an infrastructure that really is like, built on the back of attention. But at the end of the day, if we can, if we're, if we care about what we're building in the world, and we're, we're thrusting attention on the right things, and the right conversations and what people need to be thinking about and talking about and are, how are we involving the whole community writ large in, in these conversations? I guess that's just like, what I'm always thinking about em is what I'm working on, important to the world? And if, if so, in what way, like, what conversation am I helping? For me, it's really about conversation, I actually don't feel like I'm someone who's going to make an impact from from, like, I'm not an entrepreneur, I'm not the person that's going to be building the thing that makes the impact. I'm the person to incite the conversation. And hopefully steered in a direction where becomes more thoughtful, or at least gets people asking better questions. And that's what I do. And if I can't do that, if I can't do that, I'm not going to do something just to do it. So I will say like, this AI experiment, for instance, is a good example of that. Yes, I'm a huge enthusiast of emerging technology. I'm excited about where it'll go, I'm probably a little more risk taker, I'm more of a risk taker than others in this space. And yes, of course, I can see all the negatives and downsides. And I also believe it's inevitable. So I'd rather be on the side of, of doing something that initiates a conversation, even if it's an uncomfortable one, where we can, like, start talking about this and letting people know what's going on. Because I'm not going to be I might be the first person to Well, I don't even think I'm the first person to put on an AI clone video, I might just be one of the first people to have a good one, you know, but like, there's gonna be many more of these. And if I'm the one initiating these conversations with companies and putting together contracts, and like, thinking about, well, how does this look? And how can we protect people? And how can it protect against the downsides? And what, what are the really cool upsides that might be helpful to all of us, if I can steer that conversation in a more positive way than that, that makes all the sense in the world to me.

Steven Parton  42:49

And now we're going to be taking questions from our global su community, where more than 25,000, innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders come together to learn, connect and take action. If you'd like to be part of this talented and ambitious community, and ask the podcast guest questions of your very own, simply go to su.org and click Sign up from the menu. And now back to our guest, we took some questions from the community who knew we're gonna talk to you? Are you down to answer maybe a few? Yeah, let's

Taryn Southern  43:21

do it.

Steven Parton  43:22

So one question is from Phil wood. And he wanted to ask Where is the dividing line between when something is just a biological change, and where it becomes a metaphysical change that impacts I guess, who we are beyond just the physical side of things? So maybe this is a good question for what you were talking about before?

Taryn Southern  43:40

Well, I mean, this just gets into a bigger question of what is our deeper self? And is it really like deeper than the biological self? Like, is it the biological self, that's actually making the decisions for this, like higher order self if we're just a amalgamation of computations, and there's like a million different terrines running script in my head, based on learned experience with the outside worlds, and they're all kind of competing and the algorithms sort of running in the background unconsciously? Like what what is the deeper self? It's all to me, it's possible that it's all the same thing. So we can't really have a conversation about changing the biological self without also having a conversation about the metaphysical self. In other words, I have no good answer for that question. I just have another question. I have more questions that I will punt to experts who are much more well versed in neuroscience and the theory of self

Steven Parton  44:36

Yeah, that's a deep one. I'm gonna ask you a question here. I just want a yes or no or you can even give it a maybe answer. Okay. Do you believe in free will?

Taryn Southern  44:47

I choose to believe in free well,

Steven Parton  44:49

perfect, I love it. I'm not gonna push any farther because that's a conversation that goes a lot of places. Yeah, does. We have another one here from iryna krim lebuh. This kind of technology can bring us mind blowing discoveries and progress at the same time, it can create huge threats if using the wrong with the wrong intentions. How do you see the current state of the governance of technologies? were some of the examples of gaps that you've observed? And what do you think governments and organizations could do to ensure positive impact?

Taryn Southern  45:19

Yeah, it's, it's tricky, because it's partially culturally defined. You know, China's going to have a very different disposition, about going into people's brains and, and doing research than we do. Here, we have a much more individuated source, like our politics is, is very much in support of the individual and individual freedoms. And there are other countries that take a more societal or communal approach. And that will lead to different policies. But that aside, I mean, mean, it's really hard to regulate technologies that are in a discovery or research state, because we don't know what we're going to find. So therefore, we don't know the implications we're starting to know. But in the broad sense, we don't we don't really know on a societal level, what's going to happen with these things. I think what is really important is while this kind of research is being done, ensuring that security and privacy are upheld, and the most stringent sense I mean, we're talking about people, people's like, the data, if we're talking about data, and like Facebook data, this is like the most personal data that one could have. And so just making sure that as we're going about the research, that it's that it's very secure, that we have privacy policies in place, and that these companies have to answer to some kind of, you know, independent review, whether that's governmental. I know, by the way, I don't know if government is the right, like, is the right person, or sorry, the right body entity to be instituting policies. And that's part of the problem, too, because governments are always most governments are always going to be looking at pretty much everything is that that comes about from technology is will this be a defense mechanism for us. And that gets a little scary, too. So this is a much bigger problem. But I would say trust needs to be in place as much as can be in place. And so that means between institutions, between government and institutions, between privacy and security laws, like all of that needs to be in place. And then from there, it's really comes down to what countries are comfortable with in terms of research.

Steven Parton  47:49

Yeah, fair. I love that. I love the point about how difficult it is to monitor something that's nascent and try to control it before it even really emerges. You can't right do that. Alright, and we got to see one more here from Luke heatherton. A bit more personal on this one, how has your personal mental and physical health struggles and formed your approach to? or thoughts around brain computer interfaces and the progress of AI in general?

Taryn Southern  48:18

I love that question. Mmm hmm. Well, it might have answered it a little bit in our earlier podcast in some ways. It's, it's reminded me of the preciousness of life and the importance, how critical it is to have your wits about you, in these moments when everything's on the line, and your wits is just like this brain seems to operate on its own sometimes it just does what it wants to do, which is so frustrating. And so in many ways, like I feel like we can't get there fast enough. It's actually made me more it's made me feel a sense of urgency that I didn't around these discoveries and what would happen if we actually had the tools to ensure that in our final moments, we could be happy and free and or not just in our final moments in our everyday moments that we can be happy and free and live joyfully and like shoot, like make that choice and actually have some constitution over that choice. Instead, I've got like Taryn who didn't sleep last night like making all the decisions and choices and like that's not what I want. And then you know, from a disease amelioration standpoint, of course, like not wanting people to have to deal with terrible end of life diseases, their brain would be incredibly optimal. But yeah, I would like to see I would like to see this technology develop further and, and on a faster timescale than what we've seen. Not saying that I'll be the first to sign up for a brain implant. But you know, I'm probably more enthusiastic than most

Steven Parton  50:00

I think I can relate. Well, I want to give you a chance now to to maybe roll out the red carpet for you. Is there anything you'd like to tell the audience about that's coming up maybe more about what to expect with the series or something you're working on that you'd like to point some attention to?

Taryn Southern  50:17

Thank you. That's so kind of you. I'm just gonna look at my little notes to see if there's anything as I'm going, man. No, I mean, I guess just in terms of the AI video series, if people are interested, please subscribe to my YouTube and follow me on Instagram, because I will be having I'll be posting more details about that soon. And I'm also just like, now that I'm back in the states and no longer meandering through Bali meeting with healers. I'm going to be a bit more active in general on social media, but in a way that I want to be like, like I said, I'm sitting here talking to you about having a conversation about things that are important. And that's really what I'm looking forward to doing more of on my social media. So a lot of the things that we've been talking about in the world of healing in biotech and longevity and in biohacking. I'm going to be posting more about some of the things some of the crazy things I've been doing the past year, and what I think could be helpful to other people just opening up about and a lot of them are you know, technologically based, but not everything is. So yeah, I'm excited to just be writing and talking more about those things. Alright, I think that's mainly it for now, for now, you know, say for

Steven Parton  51:35

now I I have a feeling you're gonna do something else in a few months with some artificial intelligence that's gonna make us all rethink our humanity. Oh, no. Well, thank you so much for your time there. And I really appreciate

Taryn Southern  51:50

you. It's always a pleasure talking to you. I appreciate you, my friend.

Steven Parton  51:54

And now we're going to take a moment for a short message about our membership for organizations, which you can find by going to su.org and clicking organizations in the menu.


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