The Feelies

People who fret about the future and those unhappy with the people in charge, tend to rely on Orwell for their ammunition. The truth is, Orwell got most things wrong. The future is not going to be a boot stamping on a human face forever. The future is going to be something closer to what Huxley had in mind.

Automation will do most of the work required to sustain life and people will spend their free time on drugs or their technological equivalents. The “feelies” were a type of movie experience Huxley described where the viewers experienced raw emotions, rather than watching a story with characters and plot.  According to this story, books will soon deliver emotion to the reader.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a “wearable” book which allows the reader to experience the protagonist’s emotions.

Using a combination of sensors, the book senses which page the reader is on and triggers vibration patterns through a special vest.

“Changes in the protagonist’s emotional or physical state trigger discrete feedback in the wearable [vest], whether by changing the heartbeat rate, creating constriction through air pressure bags, or causing localised temperature fluctuations” the researchers said.

The vest contains a personal heating device to change skin temperature and a compression system to convey tightness or loosening through airbags.

It will not be long before movies move from 3D to 4D, where the fourth dimension is smelling, tasting and so forth. Instead of sitting in a theater, you put on your headset, plug into the grid and join other in some grand adventure that is like being in a video game. It will be lucid dreaming with a social element. Old people will lie around reliving their youth until the state pulls the plug. Maybe it will work out just fine or maybe not.

One thought on “The Feelies

  1. Orwell got everything wrong.
    I disagree; he got the corruption of language aspect, Newspeak, quite right.

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