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 is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

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
  - Computer Predicts Psychosis Better Than Psychiatrists

Articles related to Artificial Intelligence
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers

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

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

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.