Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
It might be better to just get another gerbil.

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The classic '67 Camaro convertible spins out of control: chunks of the front tire bounce off the windshield barely missing my neat coif. As the vehicle slams through the guardrail and arcs over the cliff towards the waiting waves, I almost calmly run through the checklist of possibilities: jump out ? no, too high up; press the "inflatable parachute" button ? nope: ain't got one... As my watery grave fast approaches, I notice the big red button on the dash... "hope this works" I think, punching it with every ounce of strength and preparing for impact....
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Calvin's eyes popped open; wow, what a dream; wonder how I get out of this one; guess I'll find out tomorrow...

Choose the program you want to be immersed in during the last half hour of sleep each morning: dramas, historical reenactments, sitcoms and much, much more. For a few more credits spent, you can not only be the ubiquitous bystander (camera POV on TV), but take part as a member of the supporting cast; quite a bit more credits and you can be one of the main protagonists. Have your own subconscious run an episode and wake up as the credits start rolling.

Coffee-break discussions of last night's TV episodes pale in comparison to banter between people who actually "were there".

"retrointeractivity" is the newest word in the dictionary.


The clientside terminal consists of an Intranet connection to the Network's server from which it receives the daily episode/character script. The script contains not only the character's actions and words, but a full multi-sense rendering of the environments in which the episode takes place. Most importantly a character-specific motivational background for each movement/talk sequence is included. The other portions of the terminal include a basic brainwave scanner, and an audio speaker which is used to pre-program the dreamer and later narrate the episode-sequence while playing the soundtrack.

The sleeper's brainwaves are scanned until they indicate full unconsciousness then the episode setup begins. Since the amount of useful (ie:programmable) sleep the sleeper will have can't be determined ahead of time, the system programs in a holographical manner: gradually adding more and more detail as the night wears on. If the sleeper rouses from unconsciousness the system goes into standby mode until sleep ensues again. Eventually the sleeper will have enough background knowledge and ingrained reflex-cues to make it through an entire episode with minimal cueing.

For instance, the "passive" ("TV camera") sleeper would have inactivity/passivity (except for head/eye movement and interest) stressed to avoid later trying to actively participate during the dream and bunging up the works. Cues such as "John Drake knows his stuff and doesn't need help" or "you will be invisible" or even the stereotypical New Yorker's "don't get involved" are pre-programmed into the sleeper.

However the active roles require that the dreamer believes they're interacting with the environment (even though they're just following a narrated script based on hours of preparatory response programming) : you have to make them pick up an object, see that a suspect is lying, or decide to put the matchstick, paperclip and used gum together in a certain fashion to make a semi-automatic rifle. The point is to ensure that when the dream happens, the "live" narration that cues the entire episode requires no explanation and minimal interpretation on the dreamer's part.

Half an hour before the scheduled wake-up time, the system brings the sleeper into a semi-conscious dreaming state (audio stimulation) then, similar to an auld-tyme radio program, launches into a subliminal first-person narrative of the episode. The dreamer's subconscious, well prepared from the night's programming, fills in the blanks.

Wake up refreshed, ready to greet the day with an interesting story to tell and, if you're one of the "free" subscribers, an overwhelming urge to buy certain products.


You think producing a TV show is complicated, wait 'til you see this. Not only are all the episodes detailed and backfilled to the last nano-whatsis (remember the variety of people you have to "coach" into actively imagining what you want them to), but every single subscribeable character has their own complete story:

Sure, Batman's "Robin" is in on most of the action scenes when he's not in the bathroom with a magazine photospread of Catwoman; his "script" will be quite similar to Batman's except a slightly different visual POV and a more hero-worship oriented motivational background, but what about Alfred the butler?: secretly siphoning the Wayne fortune into an offshore "retirement fund" and spitting in the lobster bisque to make up for having to pander to that psycho and his little kissup friend's every whim. Maybe he goes around after a Caped Crusader who can hardly tie his own bootlaces, having to soften up the villains' minions while skulking in the shadows with a blowgun, and radio-control a Batarang which would end up wrapped around it's thrower's pointy head otherwise. Snicker during other people's daytime conversations of how heroic they were while knowing the truth: that you're the *real* hero.

All defineable characters, main or supporting, have their own "spinoff series" which can often crossover into other main series to keep up interest.

To make things more complicated, we need to program in substitutions: if a client loves spiders, then the scene where they're supposed to scream in terror at an encroaching tarantula will be difficult to program in: so a huge wasp or a fanged bunny, or worst-comes-to-worst, a blank spot filled by "something you're terrified of" on standby, all carefully weaved into the skein, controlled by what the brainwave scanner picks up as your reaction during the programming phase.

On file serverside are the nightly brainscans of all the clients; what they react to, when and how: this feedback allows for more effective programming both at a generic and specific level.

Sponsors pay for product placement, research institutes pay for brainscan results, clients pay for the world's most elaborate alarm clock.


Don't feel like participating tonight ? Hit "Default" and have a dream that you're being woken up by an annoying alarm clock that won't shut off no matter what you do... until you're scanned as being fully conscious.

FlyingToaster, Sep 18 2009

'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick http://en.wikipedia...t_for_You_Wholesale
[DrBob, Sep 18 2009]

Which was the source material for... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Recall
[normzone, Sep 18 2009]

Sleep and supression of the auditory pathway http://fora.tv/2009..._the_Sleeping_Brain
[ixnaum, Sep 20 2009]


       What? I expected [21Quest] to be the first poster with his droning 'but how's it work? WIBNI' comment, shortly followed up by a bad attitude snap at someone who disagrees with him.
RayfordSteele, Sep 18 2009

       I'm guessing since I spent a few hundred words describing how it works (the "Clientside" and "Serverside" sections), no.   

       However the Reader's Digest version is...   

       A box that has a brainscan device for telling when the subscriber is awake or asleep, and a speaker which is used to pre-program their subconscious with background info while asleep, then half an hour before wake-up time, starts narrating and playing the soundtrack to a brain-TV episode, so they dream they're a series' character.   

       It's been ages since I read the original "Total Recall": [DrBob]'s link, but this is a working model based on existing technology which has been around for decades, and it's purpose is to have a person's subconscious run a scripted dream, not implant a false memory... okay it might be a *little* further up the brainwashing scale than current TV programming... but is that such a bad thing ?
FlyingToaster, Sep 18 2009

       // this is a working model based on existing technology
In much the same way that spiderman is based on arachnology research, perhaps.

       But to answer your question, yes, I think commercializing people's dreams would be an ethically bad thing to do.
jutta, Sep 18 2009

mmm... If a hypnotist can make somebody cluck like a chicken with half a minute of prep, how hard could it be to induce a dream of being your favorite fictional character during the "coasting into consciousness" period just before you wake up? given 4-5 hours of quality unconscious access time, and a background soundtrack and semi-subliminal narration (unless it's a film noire of course, in which case most of the narration is liminal)

       //ethically bad thing to do// and your point is ...
FlyingToaster, Sep 18 2009

       It would still be raining.
egbert, Sep 18 2009

       during sleep the auditory pathways are blocked from reaching higher areas of your brain. All your brain gets to be aware of are threatening sounds such as: loud bangs, alarms, strange voices, lion growls etc. .. and all this is just so that you can wake up ready for your fight/flight/back to sleep response. Everything else gets filtered out.
ixnaum, Sep 19 2009

       I know this to be wrong. Where is this information from [ixnaum]?   

       [ixnaum] the only time the system interacts with the "higher areas of the brain" is when the user selects what show he wants to watch.   

       I like the idea of a back-to-sleep response though.
FlyingToaster, Sep 19 2009

       When our daughter did that we told her that she only had to turn her pillow over so the bad dreams could get out of it. Worked like a charm. Not that I'm implying that your daughter is as gullible as mine at that age but it's worth a shot.   

       [2-fries] I saw it on a fora.tv presentation regarding sleep. See link. The presenter may be wrong too. But if it was possible to cue dreams through auditory stimulus as FlyingToaster suggests, this would have been baked ages ago. So even if the auditory info is processed in some way, it must be very different than during waking state.
ixnaum, Sep 20 2009

       hidden in the morass of a post is the line "sleeper is brought to near-consciousness" or summat... the sequence starts when you're in a half-awake state, not when you're fully asleep.
FlyingToaster, Sep 20 2009

       The real question is how long before subliminal ads are incorporated?   

       this dream brought to you by...   

       [FT] sorry, but I have to call bullshit and though I have no knowledge of this topic whatsoever, here is why I know it won't work. If this did work and you could direct someones dreams, then you could create a the greatest money making device in history, a machine/audio track that would allow someone to have dream sex with anyone they liked.   

       i.e. So that means that anyone can get a machine, attach some sensors, go to sleep and then have a detailed dream about having sex with Gisele Bündchen/Hugh Jackman/Lara Croft/Jessica Rabbit/Wilma Flintstone/(fill in any person of your choice here). This product would make more money than internet porn and fossil fuels combined and make cocaine and hallucinogenic drugs obsolete. I think it could bring peace to the middle east...I mean hmm, I could blow myself up, but I heard "The best of Playboy Playmates VII" is coming out on the Dreamcaster next month and then then "Brazilian Bikini Models 45" is coming out the week after that...   

       If you have even the slightest hope that this could work, quit your job and do whatever it takes to get this made, till then (-) if only because it seems to blatantly ignore the real purpose that a machine like this would be used.   

       And using it as alarm clock? WHO WOULD WANT TO WAKE UP?
MisterQED, Sep 21 2009


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