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-   -   Synthesizing contentment, at what price? (http://forums.macnn.com/89/macnn-lounge/507157/synthesizing-contentment-at-what-price/)

 
Shaddim Jan 3, 2014 07:35 PM
Synthesizing contentment, at what price?
This is a subject my book/discussion group has taken up recently and it brought up some interesting observations so I'll pitch it here too.

Let's say there's a company that has a product, a family of devices, that can determine exactly what you desire. However, there's a catch, it requires that you get a neural implant that wirelessly interfaces with an analyzer, and after a period of time performing analysis, it determines what you want without any active input from you. Let's say you want to hear some music, it would automatically know that, then choose the type, volume, and duration of the listening experience based on what is read. The same goes for TV, web sites, etc., custom tailoring any content for you. Of course, it maps everywhere you go, records everything you think (based on your reactions to various types of stimuli), and due to the complexity involved, this information has to be shared with the content providers so they can know what to serve up. Would that interest you?

Going a step further, what if not only could it read what you feel but directly make you feel; blissful, afraid, anxious, or any emotion, by triggering specific brain centers, causing you to manufacture the various chemicals required, bypassing the need for any "traditional sources" of stimulation? Too far?
 
auto_immune Jan 4, 2014 08:04 AM
Operation Mind F@#K ?
 
turtle777 Jan 4, 2014 10:39 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Shaddim (Post 4263096)
Going a step further, what if not only could read what you feel but directly make you feel; blissful, afraid, anxious, or any emotion, by triggering specific brain centers, causing you to manufacture the various chemicals required, bypassing the need for any "traditional sources" of stimulation? Too far?
For the general population, I'd think this goes to far.

I can, however, see this working as a treatment for illnesses, especially psychological ones.
And as a treatment for violent crimes offenders.

-t
 
Shaddim Jan 4, 2014 01:21 PM
The therapeutic aspects are an undeniable benefit, as a treatment for people who battle mental diseases, such as severe depression and schizophrenia, such a product could prove to change everything.
 
Demonhood Jan 4, 2014 03:39 PM
Part of life is denying yourself the short term wants in favor of the long term needs. Sounds like a great way to treat disease and/or pacify people.
 
ebuddy Jan 4, 2014 04:14 PM
The cost of the apparatus and amount of insurance necessary to protect such an endeavor would price the gizmo away from all, but the mentally ill, uber-rich. This will eventually be deemed unfair at which time synthesized contentment would become a civil right and CGI would take over the project. "Glitch" would mean something else entirely and then we'd have a bunch of folks running around on auto-pilot trying to behead others for the stimuli in their analyzers.
 
andi*pandi Jan 4, 2014 04:26 PM
While a UI that can intuit the music I'm in the mood for, or the show I feel like watching, sounds good... sometimes I like not knowing what I want, and discovering it.
 
BLAZE_MkIV Jan 4, 2014 04:42 PM
This sounds like any number of Outer Limits episodes.
 
subego Jan 4, 2014 05:01 PM
I'm mildly interested in the first.

Don't care what the content providers know. Do care what they tell the gubmint.
 
gradient Jan 4, 2014 05:07 PM
Sounds like a precursor to... Idiocracy.
 
Shaddim Jan 5, 2014 12:52 AM
The groundwork for Idiocracy was laid with the advent of reality TV. I wish I was joking... :hmm:

Quote, Originally Posted by Demonhood (Post 4263149)
Part of life is denying yourself the short term wants in favor of the long term needs. Sounds like a great way to treat disease and/or pacify people.
I have a feeling the government believes that's its job as well (the pacifying part), as does certain demographics.
 
subego Jan 5, 2014 01:04 AM
IMO, reality TV is about an order of magnitude worse than hardcore pornography in terms of exploiting one's self.

At least people in porn are honest about what they're doing.
 
Shaddim Jan 5, 2014 02:34 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by ebuddy (Post 4263151)
The cost of the apparatus and amount of insurance necessary to protect such an endeavor would price the gizmo away from all, but the mentally ill, uber-rich. This will eventually be deemed unfair at which time synthesized contentment would become a civil right and CGI would take over the project. "Glitch" would mean something else entirely and then we'd have a bunch of folks running around on auto-pilot trying to behead others for the stimuli in their analyzers.
For the latter function, I think the economics of scale would kick in before long; first used with mental patients and the criminally insane, then as a drug for the wealthy, but ultimately it would get into the hands of John Q.

Early devices that are simple "readers" could already be in development, but the processing power necessary to analyze on the fly would be substantial, more than a top end smart phone can currently provide, and they'd be rather clunky at first; I imagine a device with two contact points attached to the head (behind each ear), and another about the size of a Zippo, that's attached to the first, that works as the interface to the computer (or tablet, smartphone, etc.). It could possibly even connect to current devices already being made, things like, say... Glass. All of this is hypothetical, of course.

Personally, as long as it stays out of my head, I'd be willing to try it, but I wouldn't let anyone cut on me to install anything. One, because I don't trust any company that much, and two, because I can only imagine how much of a bitch any upgrades would be. ;) However, I can see where this would all go terribly wrong, people forgetting how to make choices and decisions on their own, attention spans becoming even shorter (think goldfish).

Quote, Originally Posted by andi*pandi (Post 4263154)
While a UI that can intuit the music I'm in the mood for, or the show I feel like watching, sounds good... sometimes I like not knowing what I want, and discovering it.
You'd be able to turn it off, though leaving it off for too long compromises the quality and accuracy of its data collection.

Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4263158)
I'm mildly interested in the first.

Don't care what the content providers know. Do care what they tell the gubmint.
It's no secret I'm a pessimist, I'm pretty certain that any information the data collectors get will be compromised, legally or illegally, by the Feds. To me, that's a given. I can see it now...

It's 2021 and "Mindgate" has boiled over, it's been discovered that the NSA and DHS have been reading everyone's thought profiles, which were initially said to be completely inaccessible, but all this time there's been a deeper layer of information being collected, beyond simple tastes and preferences... [cue Duel of the Fates]
 
subego Jan 5, 2014 03:43 AM
Some day, someone will come up with the novel idea of founding a country based on freedom of interference from the government.
 
ebuddy Jan 5, 2014 09:24 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4263196)
Some day, someone will come up with the novel idea of founding a country based on freedom of interference from the government.
:lol::thumbsup:
 
turtle777 Jan 5, 2014 01:18 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4263196)
Some day, someone will come up with the novel idea of founding a country based on freedom of interference from the government.
I'm actually not sure if I should laugh or cry :hmm:

-t
 
Shaddim Jan 5, 2014 02:42 PM
Something good came out of this, I liked my Mindgate blurb so much I've started writing a novella. I'm already 20 pages deep with notes and have 10 pages written. :lol:

"We know what you're thinking, and you can't stop us. No one would believe you, anyway."
 
osiris Jan 6, 2014 11:00 AM
Drinking helps.
 
andi*pandi Jan 6, 2014 01:43 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Shaddim (Post 4263215)
Something good came out of this, I liked my Mindgate blurb so much I've started writing a novella. I'm already 20 pages deep with notes and have 10 pages written. :lol:

"We know what you're thinking, and you can't stop us. No one would believe you, anyway."
This thread reminds me of something vonnegut either wrote, or would have. Have at it.
 
Shaddim Jan 6, 2014 02:52 PM
There's 8", and counting, of snow on the ground here, what else am I going to do? ;)
 
andi*pandi Jan 6, 2014 04:18 PM
All work and no play makes Jack something something...
 
Laminar Jan 6, 2014 04:41 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4263194)
IMO, reality TV is about an order of magnitude worse than hardcore pornography in terms of exploiting one's self.

At least people in porn are honest about what they're doing.
I don't think that pizza guy was really a pizza guy.
 
Doc HM Jan 8, 2014 06:07 PM
read "Learning to be Me" by Greg Egan from the collection "Axiomatic" about a device implanted into peoples brains that learns to be them, and once it has done so perfectly runs in sync with the implants own brain as a check before taking over and disconnecting the actual brain.

Axiomatic is packed full of wonderful hard science ideas.

Axiomatic (story collection) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
gradient Jan 9, 2014 03:19 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Doc HM (Post 4263672)
read "Learning to be Me" by Greg Egan from the collection "Axiomatic" about a device implanted into peoples brains that learns to be them, and once it has done so perfectly runs in sync with the implants own brain as a check before taking over and disconnecting the actual brain.

Axiomatic is packed full of wonderful hard science ideas.

Axiomatic (story collection) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Looks good. I've been thinking about picking up some new sci-fi, maybe I'll try to track this one down.
 
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