Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Probability Vacations

Many simulated experiences. Few real vacations. No way to tell which one you got.
  (+7, -2)
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Blindfolded, I can't distinguish a mock-up beach with audio equipment, sand and sun lamps from a real beach. You blindfold me and simulate plane flight and realistic delays, and I would think it was real. The trick requires unprecedented attention to detail. But the illusion disappears if you told me beforehand that it will be a simulation.

Instead of telling me that it will be a simulation, tell me there is a chance that I will go on a real vacation. As a business, you make this offer to a thousand people. You send some of them on actual chartered flights to exotic places and lead them around blindfolded. The rest of them, also blindfolded, are given simulations.

That is, you lead them blindfolded around a large movie studio with the appropriate environmental conditions. The tour guides in both cases complete the experience by handing out objects and making beautiful, powerful descriptions. The blindfolds can be removed in windowless "hotels" for both real and fake vacationers, so that they can wash off the spittle of nature (such as ocean sprays, stalactite drips, ketchup).

Three benefits of Probability Vacations over real travel:

1) For some exotic vacations, the fake one might be cheaper. Many fake vacations would subsidize the few real ones, allowing middle-income people to participate. The idea was initially conceived for trips to the moon, but I forgot how to simulate the absence of gravity. I'm thinking fluids, spinning, or disabling the inner ear.

2) The tour guides can make up a more interesting vacation, since they can get away with fooling you. They could even throw in a plot and a story. If you read a book and find it better than the movie, doesn't that imply that your fake vacation can be better than a real vacation? That is, partial sensory deprivation can be liberating. As for me, my imagination outperforms Hollywood's execution.

3) Safety?

Ketchupybread, Nov 05 2009

The Prisoner http://www.youtube....watch?v=HRPDO63rI1E
[po, Nov 05 2009]

[link]






       would you like to see my photographs from last year's blindfolded holiday? - yeah, bit blurry aren't they!
po, Nov 05 2009
  

       Here's the one where I walked into a lampost.
xenzag, Nov 05 2009
  

       //I forgot how to simulate the absence of gravity//   

       If you remember, would you mind telling NASA - they were asking.
wagster, Nov 05 2009
  

       like a lot of ideas here, it may be completely impractical but would make a good plot device in a movie. [+]
xaviergisz, Nov 05 2009
  

       I like this. + for not calling it Schrödinger's Vac.
shudderprose, Nov 05 2009
  

       Would it actually be cheaper to simulate a holiday than to do the real thing? I'm thinking about the Truman Show here. In order for it to be convincing, in the film at least they needed a dome visible from orbit, and i can believe that. If i went on a hiking holiday and i walked, say, ten kilometres from a hostel in each direction, i'd need to be in a studio twenty kilometres across.   

       I can see it working for a beach holiday where you sit around and do very little, but safeguards would have to be in place to stop you from going to the other side of the island even then.   

       Maybe for time travel and space holidays. In the former case, the tour guide could warn people not to do something trivial, somehow force it to happen, then "bring them back" to an alternate timeline at the end of the holiday for the shock value.
nineteenthly, Nov 05 2009
  

       //but safeguards would have to be in place to stop you from going to the other side of the island // one of those balloon thingys that they had in "the prisoner"
po, Nov 05 2009
  

       The only way I can see this working is that you only offer it to people who are already blind and tricking blind people into virtual vacations is bound to lead you to long expensive court trials. (-)
MisterQED, Nov 05 2009
  

       [Mr.QED], I wish I could bun your anno. The thought of fooling blind people into thinking they are on vacation is going to entertain me all day.
MikeD, Nov 05 2009
  

       This is a fantastic idea for a movie called Total Recall.
luxlucet, Nov 05 2009
  

       Nice one, [po], and people could pay to be in the balloons too.
nineteenthly, Nov 05 2009
  

       Hey listen, the business isn't lying to anyone. You buy a chance for a real vacation. Getting the fake one is the same as losing the lottery; you can't sue anybody. Also, you can't tell that the simulated vacation was fake.
Ketchupybread, Nov 06 2009
  

       " Blindfolded, I can't distinguish a mock-up beach with audio equipment, sand and sun lamps from a real beach"   

       I'll bet you could. Either that or you fool pretty easy.
normzone, Nov 06 2009
  

       it's like a placebo vacation. Made me laugh, well done.   

       I wonder if the placebo would have the same effect (well yeah, because the blindfold would make the real vacation suck as bad as the placebos)   

       gotta do something about the blindfold, kinda blows the whole thing.
oxen crossing, Nov 25 2009
  
      
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