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"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Unit Analyst Robot  
  A robotic psychoanalyst.  

Don Walsh doesn't seem to fit into society. In his country, the Purists argue that fresh breath and a clean smell are important; so important that the Purists are pushing a five-point plan including forced surgical removal of sweat glands, breath control, teeth-whitening and hair-restorer. The Naturalists, on the other hand, believe that this society was built from the ground up by red-blooded men who sweated and are proud of it.

Don, on the other hand, wasn't really worked up by either side. Unfortunately, the Purists were gaining the upper hand, and their surgical requirements were about to become law.

Don decides to talk it over with a unit analyst - a psychoanalyst robot.

He could see the analyst within the inner chamber. It sat immobile and silent, in the dark shadows of evening. Nobody was consulting it; the analyst was turned off... The presence of his body closed relays and switches; abruptly the lights of the inner office winked on and the analyst itself sat up, smiled and half-rose to its feet.

"Don," it called heartily. "Come on in and sit down..."

He appealed to the quasi-human face of metal and plastic. "you can see this undistorted, Charley. How can I join one of the parties? All their slogans and propaganda...

The robot had clicked off; it was fading into darkness and silence, elbows still resting on the desk... The powercord that was the robot's umbilicus had a white-plastic tag wired to it. In the semi-gloom he could make out the printed words.

PROPERTY OF THE FEDERAL COUNCIL FOR PUBLIC USE ONLY
The robot, like everything else in the multi-family unit, was supplied by the controlling institutions of society. The analyst was a creature of the state, a bureaucrat with a desk and a job.
From The Chromium Fence, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Imagination Magazine in 1955
Additional resources -

If you like robot psychiatrists, you'll certainly want to have sessions with Dr. Smile and Sigfrid von Shrink.

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  More Ideas and Technology from The Chromium Fence
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to The Chromium Fence
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

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