Must Breaking Up Be Hard To Do?
Breaking up is hard to do - but does it have to be that way? Can modern technology provide help to the lovelorn?
The prairie vole is famously monogamous – it forms one life-long bond. However, when Larry Young at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, injected female voles with a drug that blocked either dopamine or oxytocin, they became polygamous. "This suggests you might be able to block oxytocin and sever a long-term attachment," says Young.
But oxytocin is important for all relationships, not just romantic love. You might cure your broken heart, but is it worth impairing all your other relationships?
Young's team has also shown that blocking corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a hormone involved in the stress response, stops the depressive behaviour that prairie voles exhibit when their partner dies. Young doesn't recommend blocking CRF for unrequited love, but he says it could be helpful to relieve the depression that comes with persistent grief.
Should we expect to see quick-fix solutions offered off label or in some anti-love black market? "I think there would be a real market, but I certainly don't recommend it," says Young.
Other groups are trying to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder replace a memory with another that is less emotionally fraught. "Hypothetically, you could imagine a similar therapy being used to dampen the memory of love," says Fisher. One day it might even be possible to use brain stimulation to decrease activity in the ventral pallidum, to speed up the healing effects of time, she says.
I must confess to readers that, when I started this site, I sometimes doubted whether or not I should bother typing an author's most unusual and frivolous "inventions" into the site's database. I soon learned, however, that even the most unlikely idea might actually become reality.
In his 1965 collection The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age, Stanislaw Lem writes about a monarch with a problem - an unrequited love. Does this age-old problem have a technological solution? Of course it does!
He set up his equipment in the magnificent royal gardens and in three weeks had converted the Temple of Contemplation there into a strange edifice full of metal, cables and glowing screens. This was, he told the King, a femfatalatron, an erotifying device stochastic, elastic and orgiastic, and with plenty of feedback; whoever was placed inside the apparatus instantaneously experienced all the charms, lures, wiles, winks and witchery of all the fairer sex in the Universe at once. The femfatalatron operated on a power of forty megamors, with a maximum attainable efficiency - given a constant concupiscence coefficient - of ninety-six percent, while the system's libidinous lubricity, measured of course in kilocupids, produced up to six units for every remote-control caress...
(Learn more about Lem's femfatalatron)
Read more about this idea at If I Could Just Stop Loving You: Anti-Love Biotechnology and the Ethics of a Chemical Breakup; via New Scientist.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/18/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Singing Ringing Tree Wind-Powered Sculpture
'It was like no music Dirk had ever heard, It was eerie and wild...' - George RR Martin, 1977.
Magic Mushroom Nose Spray From Silo Wellness
'I don't need help... that's not my diagnosis!'
FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'- Harry Harrison, 1970.
Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Cruise Autonomous Car Drives Aimlessly For An Hour
Convincing video shows progress (and limitations).
Fast Charging A Bus In 20 Seconds
'... in almost every town and village.'
Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'
Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'
Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'
The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'
Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'
Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'
Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'
Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'
NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'
Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'
Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'
Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'
Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'
Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories