What if all the things that you ever wanted could be replicated by a machine so well-tuned that you could not tell the difference between the replica and the original?
This technological breakthrough, on par with the discovery of the fountain of youth or the secret of eternal life, would connect you to a reality more pleasing than the one you live on two legs.
The Experience Machine would attach directly to your pre-frontal lobe with nodes and cables, leading to a hard drive where anything you could imagine could be programmed. It could also interphase with your muscle memory so that physical systems of the body, arms, legs, chest, could have direct contact with the experience, replicating the endorphins of physical activity.
Relationships, adventures, heartaches, risks, epiphanies, joy, sadness – each could be articulated with such authenticity that really experiencing these activities would feel less real, less authentic than those offered through the Experience Machine.
Even the more complex senses like expectation, defeat after victory, or the feeling of directing a hit movie or performing before adoring crowds – all could be mimicked. If this were possible, if an experience more human than human were there, would you take it?
Or, could it be that you have already taken it … on the internet?