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."

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
Computer Simulates Daydreaming
ZenRobotics Sorts Trash With Artificial Intelligence
'Hello, Computer!' Google Now Highlighted at IO13
Universal Translator: Google Translate Has 51 Offline Language Packs

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

Augmented Reality Ship's Bridge From Rolls Royce
'... the immense, three-dimensional, minutely cubed model...'

Artificial Blood From Factories
This blood's for you.

Wrigley's Anti-Impotence Chewing Gum
'Chew one of these, Mr. Chip.'

Arcology Now Universal Constructor
'... the hotel direly wanted to exist.'

MisTable Fog Display Like SeaQuest DSV
Captain Bridger, a message is coming in.

Full-Size Invisibility Cloak Now Possible
'I donned it and drew its hood, and threw on its current.'

Bioengineered Muscle Grows In Mice
'Joeboys... shoulders bulging with grafted muscle.'

Self-Assembling Nanoparticles Move Like Tiny Gears
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically...'

PredPol Predicting Crime As It Happens
'All day long the idiots babbled...'

UK Internet Filters Default To 'Family-Friendly'
'People bought personalized filter programs...'

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.