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 -
Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?' - Richard Morgan, 2003.
TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... Setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1938.
Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.' - John Brunner, 1975.
We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.' - John Brunner, 1976.
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.
Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'
Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.
Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.
Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'
First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.
VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'
Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.
Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...
Galini 3D Printed Sleeping Pod Tiny Houses
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.
Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...'
Artificial Sensory Neurons For Prosthetics, Robots
Great for humans and robots!
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.
Electronic Tongues Will Rule The Kitchen
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
Self-Healing Circuits From Carnegie Mellon
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...'
Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories