The Feedback Loop

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posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 01:07 AM
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Once they figured out how to decode our memories and then re-encode them on digital media for playback, Feedback was born and it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Everyone I know has a personal Feedback device. Mine is a raspberry colored iMinder. My best friend, from high school, Jennifer, has a black Crave with the extra mantra feature. I wish I had mantra, everyone else has it, but my iMinder is old and since I am now a college student, living on Ramen noodles, and shopping at Savers, I can’t afford a new one. Mom says I am lucky to have any Feedback at all, but she’s just saying that because she is hooked on it now. She never even used it until she and Dad got divorced and he moved out; now she is on Feedback all the time.

My Mom says my generation is the first to grow up that can’t remember a time without Feedback, just like her generation was the first generation to grow up that couldn’t remember a time without cell phones. She got that from some email chain letter. You know the kind, “You know you’re getting old when…” I don’t know why she always passes those things around. Mom is the first to be taken in by every sympathy or scare chain email to go around.

Anyway, I was explaining about Feedback. It is the next Big Thing that came along after the Internet, cell phones, texting, streaming, Facebook and Twitter.

The history goes something like this: “Back in the day”, the scientists at Duke University were working on the design of biofeedback technologies, in the pursuit of mapping how the human brain works. They discovered how memory encoding occurs in the brain and how long term memories are stored. This is good to know, but not very useful information unless one can figure out how to get the data back out of the brain.

So, next they tackled memory retrieval. The team was basically just documenting this information in order to continue mapping various brain functions, until the genius behind the Feedback technology, a graduate student named Peter Lavinsky, realized the commercial potential.

If memories could be encoded and then retrieved and recorded in a format such that they could be replayed to others then we had an unbelievable new horizon of opportunity before us. He wrote a paper outlining his ideas, but it was largely ignored at the time, and he was tragically killed in a fatal automobile accident a year after the paper was published.

However, the concepts that Peter Lavinsky laid out in his paper, eventually turned out to be exactly what happened. Since the Feedback revolution started within the realm of Academia, the first folks to really sit up and take note were graduate Psychology students, looking for new research ideas and funding for projects. They were concerned with the application of the technology toward human relationships. If individuals could experience a disagreement from the other person’s point of view, then in theory they would come to a different understanding of the disagreement, leading to a resolution.

Unfortunately, this was not at all the case. Instead, they found that people became more frustrated with each other when they experienced the other person’s memory of an event. Not only did the other person’s experience fail to mirror their own – the other person tended to have a completely different set of thoughts and feelings about the incident. Indeed, when it came to relationships, the rather inelegant and problem-prone Feedback Loop (the first of many Personal Feedback Devices) destroyed far more than it rescued.

Still, the technology continued to be referenced in academic articles and it sounded sexy to Business and Marketing majors, who continued to throw around possible ways to make it pay off. The next group to really embrace Feedback was Criminal Law. The biotechnology had been developed using cadavers that had been donated for study, and the original memories that had been retrieved were final memories of the deceased.

(Continued...)
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posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 01:09 AM
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(Continued from above...)


The Feedback technology seemed to be the perfect tool to use to solve crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice! This was pursued rabidly by victims’ rights groups until the legality of accessing memories post-mortem made its way to the Supreme Court at which point it came to the attention of the national media.

It seemed like a perfect solution. The victim’s last memories are accessed and recorded, providing the only reliable first-hand witness account. This information had never previously been available, before the new biofeedback technology made it accessible.

What could possibly be more damning to the accused than the victim’s own eyewitness view of the murderer approaching, the fearful reaction and despair, and the final memory, the face of the murderer, fading from view as the victim lost consciousness? Not only did we have the ability to locate the last memories, deathbed memories were actually the easiest memories to locate and record, and even better, the deceased did not object to the rather invasive methods required to tap these memories.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that the evidence obtained through Feedback biotechnologies were inconclusive and could only be presented as hearsay. After the initial overreaction by the media, the hype died down and the experts explained to us all that actually, this was a well-reasoned decision. A victim of a violent crime is under extreme stress, in shock, and we do not know the effects of death on perception and memory. The views and impressions that could be retrieved post-mortem, using Feedback, did not necessarily point to the person who committed the crime.

Frequently, the victim’s strongest last feelings concerned his loved ones instead of his attacker. In fact, more frequently than anyone had anticipated, the victim of the crime did not even directly view the perpetrator, or was in such shock that the captured experience of the event made it impossible to identify the perpetrator.

The Feedback technology was put on the back burner. It was not a viable option for recouping a return on investment. Grant writers lost interest in seeking funding for additional research. The technology was far too expensive; and the Supreme Court decision nearly incapacitated its usefulness for Defense Attorneys.

Feedback seemed to be at a dead end….

(Continued...)
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posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 01:11 AM
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(Continued from above...)


An Independent Film Director named Germaine Elliot was the first person to really tap into the lucrative potential of Feedback. He had initially been a Psychology student at Duke University, minoring in Film Studies. For personal reasons, he ended up making documentaries in Mexico rather than continuing to pursue the degree in Psychology. Elliot had participated in some experimental testing using Feedback, while attending Duke, and thought it would be really cool if this could be incorporated into the film documentary he was putting together on the “Dia de Los Muertes” festivals. He obtained some out-of-date equipment from the Duke Psych department that a soon-to-retire Professor provided, along with a warning to be careful, “don’t let your girlfriend play back your Spring Break.”

Not only did Elliot produce and direct the first Feedback media experience ever developed, he recognized the potential for Feedback to be used as an entertainment hook that had never been touched before, if it could be made affordable. He found his concept difficult to sell to executives who had been in the industry since the early days and had run through the gamut of 3-D, Smell-o-vision, and other entertainment experiments.

Elliot finally found backing for his vision, and spawned an entirely new entertainment industry, which is why I am here in Southern California, in school, learning how to be a Feedback Emotress.

Growing up, I always imagined that this career would be really glamorous with all kinds of fabulous perks. After all, you always see the gorgeous celebrities dominating the magazines at every grocery store checkout counter. I felt like I practically knew some of them personally, as I grew up laughing and crying, reliving their classic experiences, with my friends, at every slumber party.

I spent so much time reading about the top teen Feedback stars like Felicity Jones, Thad Winters, and Celeste when I was in middle school! I knew by heart Felicity and Celestes’ favorite colors, music, lip-gloss, and ice-cream flavors. I dreamed about going to their hangouts. My friends and I wore clothes from Felicity’s clothing line and listened, over and over, to the love song that Thad reportedly played for her when he proposed (this experience having been protected for the celebrities, in return for a contract to publish the wedding experience itself). Mad Magazine spoofed an interview with Germaine Elliot that had him emoting an experience with food poisoning “What, me worry?” We laughed, and folded up the back cover to see the barely secret picture of the month.

Whenever I plugged into my iMinder, I became totally lost in the Feedback experience. I felt like Felicity was the most amazing person in the world. She was so sweet, and experiencing her memories, I felt like I had never had such real and pure feelings. My friends and I were devastated when she retired, immediately after the wedding. We wrote a letter from our “fan club” and Felicity sent us an autographed picture, which hung in our clubhouse in Jen’s garage for years.

It turns out that the reality of the Feedback business is somewhat different from my childhood dreams.

(Continued...)
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posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 01:13 AM
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(Continued from above...)


The industry is incredibly competitive. I mean, everyone thinks his or her own memories are fascinating and imagines that emoting in a Feedback experience would be a dream job. So there are tons of people who come out here trying to get discovered. Most people actually aren’t that good at it, though. Their mind wanders and they start thinking about things in their real life that aren’t part of the story, such as they don’t think their co-star is attractive, or they aren’t hungry when they are supposed to be enjoying the best meal of their lives, or they are tired but they are supposed to be emoting a motivational exercise experience in which they love to work out.

The best Emoters are incredibly disciplined. In order to truly provide a quality Feedback experience, they have to actually *be* hungry, athletic, in love, afraid, etc. Most people who come out here trying to make it end up doing Feedback "porn". It’s the easiest thing to emote, because you don’t have to be subtle and the audience only cares about how it feels. Pretty much any reaction the Emoter has to the experience sells, even disgust and loathing. There’s actually a huge niche market for disgust – some people actually want to feel degraded, it gets their rocks off.

In my program of study, we have to stay on a very strict diet and exercise schedule and we have classes in focus where we are supposed to be learning techniques to block out our “real-time” thoughts and completely immerse ourselves in the experience. Since so many people want to know how it feels to be slender, our program incorporates the strict diet and exercise as a core requirement of the degree.

The guys live in separate dorms from us girls and according to the policy, we aren’t supposed to date, but that isn’t really enforced, it just helps weed people out. Everybody who gets into a serious relationship pretty much drops out of the program. The girl I roomed with in my freshman year was convinced she could have a boyfriend and still emote, but her grades dropped and she quit at the end of the year. She said it was too hard to feel for other people when she had such strong feelings for her boyfriend.

Although most of us are actively avoiding relationships, one of the hardest things we have to learn is falling in love on direction. I have a “flirt and tease” class on Tuesday and Thursdays from 3 to 4 that is entirely geared around keeping us in a constant state of readiness. The proof of the pudding for every real Emotress, is the ability to do a full blown crush well and really make the audience feel the intensity. Some girls are naturals at this (I imagine that Marilyn Monroe would have been) but most of us have to work to be able to feel the crush as intensely as the first time, every time.

(Continued...)
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posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 01:16 AM
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(Continued from above...)

There are a lot of electives we can take, depending on what kind of Feedback experiences we want to do when we graduate. There is a “Fear” class where they put you in all kinds of scary simulations and then the instructor directs you on how to fight back and/or get out while you are in the middle of the simulation. I haven’t taken that one yet, but it is the one that the Seniors call the “make-or-break” class. Some people minor in Dance or Literature, or History, or learn how to play an instrument, so they can eventually emote for PBS Feedback experiences.

By the way, a lot of the guys who come in to the program think they are going to get to emote rock star experiences. I hate to tell you this, but that’s not happening. Real rock stars release their own actual real-live Feedback experiences, through their record labels, it pays incredibly high royalties, and no wannabe pretender is getting a piece of that pie.

What everyone should know when they decide to pursue this is that you are emoting in a story that someone else is directing, not you. In addition, you have no way to know what your audience will have in terms of pre-conceptions, or what they are looking for. It is our job to make the experience come alive and the only way to do that is to fully experience it.

People don’t buy romantic Feedback experiences to experience feelings of insecurity. They want to know what it feels like to be “that guy” who can sweep a woman off her feet, or to be the girl who is falling in love.

If your goal is to emote in Feedback thrillers, then you need to be capable of feeling fear for lengthy periods of time. If you can’t tolerate being actively frightened for take after take of the same scene, don’t apply.

You can’t go into this career expecting to live out your fantasies. Instead, you will be living out other people’s fantasies so that they can experience how it feels, through you. Your goal is to react with integrity and truthfulness, to every situation the director throws at you. Anything that requires your character to have “gnosis” or base characteristics needs to be part of your daily routine, so that it is ingrained and does not require your attention, as you will be fully focused on the present situation in your experience’s storyline.

So, we spend all this time learning techniques to help us focus on the present and to not let our pasts inform our opinions and choices. This is counter-intuitive to most of us, but in this line of work, it is the goal. We are supposed to become “as a blank slate” as my Meditation professor repeats over and over, during every lecture. When a consumer plugs in to Feedback, he or she experiences every thought and feeling captured from the Emoter’s memory, so it has to be authentic.

(Fini... for now...)
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posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 02:38 PM
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Wow, a LOT of thinking went into that. Not usually my kind of story, but I certainly enjoyed it.



posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 02:49 PM
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reply to post by The GUT
 


Thanks Gut! I'm glad you liked it. I really appreciate the feedback... Um, I mean, your comments!
edit on 28-10201210-1212 by gwynnhwyfar because: LOL - I wasn't trying for the pun, it just came out that way because of the story...



posted on Oct, 29 2012 @ 08:58 AM
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reply to post by gwynnhwyfar
 


Hello there! When you replied to my story, I saw your signature link so I followed it.

Hey, that was pretty damn cool, mate!


The technology is theorized to be in its development, but you're the first one I know who actually extrapolated the possibility of this technology's commercialization into the future, using realistic media parameters. It was a very good read; it seems you, as the Gut said before me, put alot of thoughts into it. But the difference is, I like this kind of story.

It shows possible futures...

That was really great!


Definitively S&F!
edit on 29-10-2012 by swan001 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 07:47 PM
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reply to post by swan001
 

Hi Swan,

Thank you! I actually started the story a few years ago when we were driving somewhere on a weekend and having a conversation about a radio news spot that taked about memory encoding. The news story got me all excited and I kept thinking of all these ideas of how it could be used.

I really liked the idea of using it for evidence in a trial, but hubby was a pre-law student, once upon a time, and he convinced me it wouldn't fly. He's probably right. I started college as a Theater major, so I could imagine all kinds of implications for entertainment.

I wrote part of it and then forgot about it, and just pulled it back out for fun. I might add more some day, if I get inspired again. I was thinking it might be good to do more creative writing, since I have not done much since college.


Gwynnhwyfar



posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 08:15 PM
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reply to post by gwynnhwyfar
 


Great story. I love sci-fi, and this fits the bill nicely.

I often wonder how soon it will before implants become common place. After the initial "Mark of the Beast" terror, I think most people wouldn't be opposed to it, but then again....



posted on Oct, 30 2012 @ 08:32 PM
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Originally posted by Druid42
reply to post by gwynnhwyfar
 


Great story. I love sci-fi, and this fits the bill nicely.

I often wonder how soon it will before implants become common place. After the initial "Mark of the Beast" terror, I think most people wouldn't be opposed to it, but then again....


Hey Druid, thanks!! I didn't get into any details about how the biotechnology works with the Feedback devices everyone has, in order to leave it up to our imaginations... Other than the mention about how the deceased didn't object to the "invasive" technology... But hey, that was back in the early days, right? We've come a long way now...


Happy Samhain - love your avatar!



posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 09:08 PM
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Wow such a good story , I proper got into it . It sounds like a manuscript for a blockbuster movie.
I just can't help but think what 'other' ways the technology could be used for .



posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 09:29 PM
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Originally posted by crazzydob
Wow such a good story , I proper got into it . It sounds like a manuscript for a blockbuster movie.
I just can't help but think what 'other' ways the technology could be used for .

Thank you so much! That's why I wrote the story, it's like an intro of ideas my family talked about when we were thinking/playing/brainstorming different uses of such a technology if it existed and was advanced to this point. It's pretty fun to think aout!

Thank you Crazzydob!





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