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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Voice in the Ear  
  Project a voice or sound to one individual's ears only.  

Another great Arthur C. Clarke idea.

"All political problems," Karellen had once told Stormgren, "can be solved by the correct application of power."

"That sounds a rather cynical remark," Stormgren had replied doubtfully. "It's a little too much like 'Might is Right'. In our own past, the use of power has been notably unsuccessful in solving anything."

"The operative word is correct. You have never possessed real power, or the knowledge necessary to apply it. As in all problems, there are efficient and inefficient approaches. Suppose, for example, that one of your nations, led by some fanatical ruler, tried to revolt against me. The highly inefficient answer to such a threat would be some billions of horsepower in the shape of atomic bombs. If I used enough bombs, the solution would be complete and final. It would also, as I remarked, be inefficient - even if it possessed no other defects."

"And the efficient solution?"

"That requires about as much power as a small radio transmitter-and rather similar skills to operate. For it's the application of the power, not its amount, that matters. How long do you think Hitler's career as dictator of Germany would have lasted, if wherever he went a voice was talking quietly in his ear? Or if a steady musical note, loud enough to drown all other sounds and to prevent sleep, filled his brain night and day? Nothing brutal, you appreciate. Yet, in the final analysis, just as irresistible as a tritium bomb."

From Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Not Known in 1953
Additional resources -

Compare to the soft speaker from The Exalted (1940) by L. Sprague de Camp, green bullet from Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 or the raisin from Bart Kosko's 1987 novel Noontime.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Childhood's End
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Childhood's End
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

Voice in the Ear-related news articles:
  - MEDUSA Controls Crowds By Talking Inside Their Heads

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