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

"Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful."
- Philip K. Dick

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."

It might be easier to talk to a machine about something embarassing; you might want to visit Sigfrid von Shrink (the automated therapist) from Gateway, by Frederic Pohl.

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

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
The Poet Is A Computer
Minister Wants To Convert Artificial Intelligences To Christianity
Law Firms To Undergo 'Structural Collapse' Due Artificially Intelligent Systems
Scheherazade, An Open Story Generator

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 Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Robot Chef Makes Thousands Of Dinners
'I got one of those new electronic cameras... and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Revault Wearable Private Cloud Is Too Vaporous
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'

Lumo Projector Turns Kids Rooms Into Bradbury's Veldt
'The walls began to purr and recede... and presently an African veldt appeared...'

Ground Control Space Beer
Ninkasi Brewing Co. has its own space program.

Google Wants To Give Orders To Robot Armies
Or maybe they aren't bent on world domination.

Gestures Control Spider Robot Army
'What do you think - four spiders, one per floor?'

Hologram Protest World's First
'Their bodies were in their dwelling cells, but their telucid images filled the hall.'

SoSITE: US Pilots To Command DARPA Drone Army
'With a click of his pinky he brought up a pop-up menu, then selected *Kill Everyone*'

Asterank Database Identifies Profitable Asteroids
'Now it was a huge, charted, floating ore deposit for the entire Solar System.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.