This post seemed appropriate for Valentine's Day, since it's about an engineer's attempt to use machine logic to improve the "ambiguities of the woman/man relationship".
James F. Hollander was a patent attorney with a degree in electrical engineering. In the late 1970s he invented and patented what he called the "Human Relationship Simulator". It consisted of a box with various dials.
Even after reading his patent, and an article about his invention, I'm not exactly sure how the thing operated. From what I can gather, if a couple were having an argument, or needed to make a decision (such as where to go for dinner), they could both adjust dials on the Simulator, and it would give them an answer. And measure the intensity of their feelings.
Here's more info from a 1977 article in the Asbury Park Press:
Taking a hypothetical issue, such as a man and woman deciding whether or not to go out to dinner, information is fed into the panels. One represents the man; the other, the woman.
Each subject uses dials that represent four areas — compliance with society, attention to own desire, social pressure and personal inclination. The personal inclination and social pressure gauges are intricately detailed to show adamant 'yes' or 'no' responses, or degrees such as strong preference, or very much or some.
Attention to desire is measured in readings of low, medium and high, as is compliance with society.
As the subjects feed this information into the panels, other gauges measure tension, feelings, guilt or pride, emotional independence, like and dislike, and influence, based on each decision.
The machine does the thinking, lights a decision of 'yes' or 'no' and tells the subjects their emotional responses....
In a marriage situation, Hollander said the device could show the individuals why something is going wrong in the relationship if arguments are portrayed and feelings defined.
"I wanted to pick out the ambiguities of the woman/man relationship," he pointed out.
Asbury Park Press - Aug 29, 1977
If that doesn't seem entirely clear, then here's a sample from Hollander's patent:
The decision voltage output of the man-simulator is connected to the threshold detector of the woman-simulator via a sense port. Similarly, the woman-simulator has a decision voltage output port connected to a sense port and input to the level threshold detector of the man-simulator. A switch interrupts each output so that the effect of relationship can be shown. By adjustment and interpretation of the dial settings and decision indications, paradoxes and problems in man-woman relationships are demonstrated.
We’ve posted before about sologamy, which is the term for marrying yourself. Back in 2017, we described it as a growing trend. But apparently the woman who gets credit for pioneering this practice was Janet Downes of Nebraska who, on June 27, 1998, married herself. She recited her vows in front of a mirror.
In 1998 I was about to celebrate my 40th birthday. I had a wedding theme planned for my party and everyone thought I was nuts. Maybe I am a little but I got tired of seeing everything in the stores that was related to ‘40’ being in black. So I decided to poke a little fun at society because I didn’t feel old. That coupled with the fact that after 19 years of adulthood, I was finally at a place in my life where I was happy with almost every aspect of my life. I’d been married & divorce twice at that time, yet I no longer needed a man to ‘fulfill’ me. I had 3 beautiful children (Nicole, Jasmine & Eugene Jr.) and for the first time, was satisfied with my body. You know what I mean ladies? We always seem to feel that our breasts are too small or too big. Always complaining that something is wrong with our hips, butt or legs. We can always find something wrong with ourselves when we look in the mirror. One day I woke up & decided, I was happy with who I was, just the way I was. So that led me to, marrying myself. I didn’t know it at the time but that little stunt got me international fame. It seems that I was the first woman to think of it and actually carry it out. It was a beautiful wedding and I am happy with myself, even now.
The famous author Robert Louis Stevenson spent a large part of his honeymoon squatting in an abandoned cabin.
After their marriage in San Francisco on 19 May 1880, Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson set off on an adventurous honeymoon to the Napa Valley. Stopping briefly for a night in Vallejo, the Stevenson’s then boarded a train to carry them (and their dog Chuchu) to Calistoga at the northern end of the Valley. They spent the remainder of May in Calistoga, at one of the Hot Springs Hotel cottages. Then, once joined by Fanny’s son Lloyd Osbourne, the family made their way up the grade of Mount St. Helena to the Toll House, from which they found their way to the abandoned Silverado Mine bunkhouse where they would squat until the end of July.
We recently posted about a Japanese company (Gatebox) that had created a "digital wife"... a device that created a holographic companion for lonely people. Now 35-year-old Akihiko Kondo has married his hologram companion. From sde.co.ke:
Since March, Kondo has been living with a moving, talking hologram of Miku that floats in a ShSh280,000 ( $2,800) desktop device.
Gatebox, the company that produces the hologram device has issued a "marriage certificate," which certifies that a human and a virtual character have wed "beyond dimensions".
The singer welcomes Kndo home every evening and tells him when it is time for bed. He even sleeps with a doll of the hologram beside him.
I'd bet money that the 'marriage' is a publicity stunt engineered by Gatebox.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.