Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Dr. Smile  
  A suitcase-sized analyst; a machine that served as a psychotherapist.  

Barney Mayerson had a problem. He was about to be drafted, which in this future Earth means that he was about to be selected to be resettled on another world. How to avoid this miserable fate? Figure out some way to be declared "4F"; he was determined to develop enough neuroses to be undraftable. All he needed was a good coach...

It fits the Dickian world perfectly; a psychiatrist is used to increase the number of neuroses.

And there in the next room by the sofa sat a familiar suitcase, that of his psychiatrist Dr. Smile.

Barefoot, he padded into the living room, and seated himself by the suitcase; he opened it, clicked switches, and turned on Dr. Smile. Meters began to register and the mechanism hummed. "Where am I?" Barney asked it. "And how far am I from New York?" That was the main point...

The mechanism which was the portable extension of Dr. Smile, connected by micro-relay to the computer itself in the basement level of Barney's own conapt building in New York, the Renown 33, tinnily declared, "Ah, Mr. Bayerson." "Mayerson," Barney corrected, smoothing his hair with fingers that shook.

From The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Doubleday in 1965
Additional resources -

It should also be noted that this device is artificially intelligent and appears to be a distributed application, not merely a locally resident application:

"A psychiatrist? From one of those big conapts? Is it working? Turn it on."

Obligingly, the girl turned the psychiatrist on... "I know a Mr. Bayerson," Dr. Smile said. "In fact I'm with him right now, via portable extension, of course, right in his office."

Later on, one of the characters has this to say about Dr. Smile:

"That's not really Dr. Smile; it's just pretend, to keep us from loneliness. It's alive but it's not connected with anything outside itself; it's what they call being on intrinsic."

Compare this device with the robot psyche tester from Colony (1953) by Philip K. Dick, the unit analyst robot from The Chromium Fence (1955) by Philip K. Dick, Sigrid von Shrink from Gateway (1970) by Frederik Pohl, the machine psychologist from James Blish's Cities in Flight, the mechanotherapist from Bad Medicine (a 1956 Robert Sheckley story).

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Dr. Smile-related news articles:
  - SHUTi - Automated Online Insomnia Treatment
  - SPARX Fantasy Game Helps With Depression
  - Computer Predicts Psychosis Better Than Psychiatrists

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
Facebook's Algorithmic News Feed Knows Better Than You Do
Your Car Will Be Watching You!
AI4Mars Wants Your Help Driving On Mars
Hundreds Of Covid-Catching AI Tools - None Help

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

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 Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Swedes Get 'Chipped' With Vaccine Passports
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'

Gentle Monster Robot Head
'The robot knelt before the head, lifted it slowly, and with... its strong hands placed it on its shoulders...'

SpinLaunch SubOrbital Accelerator
'But it had slid, not rolled, down upon these angry fly-wheels, and in an instant, with all our friends, it had been hurled into the sky!'

Augmented Reality Palm Keyboard
'Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand.'

Omni Hoverboard Envy Of Green Goblin
'I brought it back to the ship, charged it up, reprogrammed the inertia chips and voila!'

Jetson ONE Speeds Through The Forest
'Over there! Two more of them!'

Facebook's Algorithmic News Feed Knows Better Than You Do
'Their playmates were not “real,” but they were a lot realer than, say, a Betsy-Wetsy doll.'

Tselina Spacecraft Platform Destroyed In Russian Anti-Satellite Test
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Burro Robot Follows You And Gets Smarter
'Oh, there you are! the balloon piped at the amorphous mass of living tissue...'

Tiangong Space Station! Exercise Like It's 1953
'He couldn't imitate actual gravity, of course...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.