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 -
Life In Detroit's 'Agrihood' - The First In The U.S.
'countless tiny brown circles in the green fields ...occasional ruins of ancient cities...' - Philip K. Dick, 1954.
3RDiTEK Lifeblogging Headband Camera
'It's logging anyway - everything you see on duty goes into the black box.' - Charles Stross, 2007.
Robot Lawyers And Robot Judges Now Everywhere
'The law clerk arrived, a smallish robot with a battered stainless steel hide and dull coppery features.' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.
Roam-e Flying Selfie Drone Cam
'Tight mid-shot and pull out on but behind me...' -Karen Traviss, 2004.
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.
Honda To Offer Car With Emotions
'All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition.'
Just Eat And Starship Bring You Food Via Robot
'...its underside was studded with grilled sensors.'
Life In Detroit's 'Agrihood' - The First In The U.S.
'countless tiny brown circles in the green fields ...occasional ruins of ancient cities...'
Artificial 'Hairs' To Enhance Senses Of Robots
'Migul had extended from each of the fingertips an inch-long filament of wire...'
The Point Of View Of An Autonomous Car
'It is safe to say that the new model almost revolutionized America in more ways than one...'
You Can't Lose The Travelmate Autonomous Suitcase - It Follows You
'...follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'
ibotn Toddler-Care Mini-Robot
'She's not like a machine. She's like a person. A living person.'
Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
'they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...'
Eighth Sense Emotion-Responsive Cloak
'This sensitivity to mood explains the real popularity of bio-fabrics...'
British Airways To Offer An Ingestible Sensor To Passengers
The modern way to get feedback from passengers.
Unique DNA To Foil Parts Counterfeiters
'... the only molecule, a unique protein amino acid, which could not be duplicated.'
MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'
Mini Robot Uses 2 mm Surgical Tools
'... surgical tool - blades, tweezers, probes - so fine you could just see them with the naked eye.'
Childhood Dreams Of Space Realized! Space Junk Problem Solved!
'Give the noble daydreams a rest, you preachy rookie. Astronauts are wage slaves like everyone else!'
Writhing Robotic Tentacle Uses Laser To Chop Nuke Hardware
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles... swinging and rattling about its strange body.'
LBNP Device Not Quite 'Artificial Gravity'
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses..'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories