Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shades of Philip K. Dick, Soldiers' kids could get virtual mums and dads

Some years back I acquired several volumes of Philip K. Dick's collected short stories, many years back I had became a fan of his work, especially his short stories. Before his visions and subsequent reaffirmation of his faith he produced a large number of often low quality novels ... sometimes with a couple of good short-stories worth of material in each. His short stories, on the other hand, were (in my opinion) where he excelled, they were often though provoking and often scary. He wrote nearly all of his short stories in the 1950s and they were hard to come by in New Zealand of the late 1970s and early 1980s. When I got the collection it was a joy to read through all his short work.

One story I remember, but can't find at the moment concerned a child with a loved toy that had a voice chip in it. The problem was that this voice chip delivered government approved ideas (propaganda) to the child as it drifted off to sleep with the intention of brainwashing the child to be a perfect cold-war citizen as an adult.

When I read in New Scientist:
It is a poor substitute for the real thing, but the US government is hoping a 'virtual parent' could provide emotional support for the children of servicemen and women while they are away on active duty.

The Department of Defense is soliciting proposals for a computer program that would enable young children to interact with a virtual version of their parent.
I was immediately reminded of this story, as I feel that the virtual parent will deliver pretty much only officially approved messages to the child.

No need to wonder how Dick would have felt about this, but at least he wouldn't have been surprised.

No comments:


[get this widget]