I've invented a holodeck! But should I sell it?

Yep, I’ve invented a Star Trek style holodeck - it works just like you’d expect from the show. Although I’m a bit more concerned about lawsuits - so safeties can never be disabled. Likewise, holo-persons created will never be sentient, just virtual intelligences.

All you need to do is put a couple of my patented, impossible to replicate holo-emitters in a room of your choice, then tell the computer what you want. Spend long hours on a Caribbean sex-yacht with Karen Gillan, give yourself superhuman powers, walk on the surface of Mars - anything you can imagine.

But, is it a good idea to release this to society?

Cracked’s 5 awesome sci-fi inventions (that would actually suck)

Once you’ve invented it, there’s no need to sell it.

Good point - cash would be become pointless for me if I had one. However initially, at least, I’d need the cash to licence likenesses for use in the machine. Like I said, I don’t need lawsuits taking up my time!

Why are you asking us? Just run some scenarios in your holodeck to find out what would happen. :smiley:

Pffft… I bet your star ships will have seatbelts too.

Seatbelts? What’s next, non-exploding instrument panels? How’s the captain supposed to know what systems are destroyed if the operator isn’t killed when his panel blows up?

Why is that? Unless I’m misremembering something from Star Trek about how this works, even if you decide to spend the rest of your life on the holodeck, you’ll still need to pay your real-world rent and electricity bills to have a place to store the thing and power keep it running, right? Also, you’ll need real food to run your body, or at least some kind of energy source. There’s still no such thing as a free lunch, not really.

I don’t think you can actually get full eating the food served on the holodeck, so there would still need to be an economy. Also, I assume it requires a power supply, and probably some manufacturing facility.

There’s an interesting sci-fi short story, Business as Usual, During Alterations.

Instead of the holodeck, it’s a replicator. Aliens want to find out whether we’re selfish and unstable or altrusitic and wise. Poof, they deposit a bunch of replicators. If we’re the former, we’ll use them and destroy the foundations of our society. If we’re the latter, we’ll destroy the replicators.

Of course, there’s a third solution, and it’s the same solution as to the holodeck issue, perhaps. It’s pretty well summarized in the article linked above, but …

We develop an economy of diversity and creativity rather than based on scarcity

The article points out that this is the emerging economy for media, for the same reason.

Replicator technology is a key part of the holodeck (to make food and such). If you invented THAT too, then that changes the equation a bit…

License? Hell, the thing’s in your living room and no one else is making money off it, right? Only when you sell it for wider use is there an issue.

Maybe. It’s never dealt with on Star Trek, but since we’re talking about photons transmuted into seemingly-normal matter, I’d assume that those photons still disappear when moved off the holodeck. Presumably, if you spent too long on the holodeck, eating holofood and drinking holowine, a non-trivial proportion of your atoms would be replaced by photons, and when you walked off, those would disappear. No big deal if we’re talking about only a few tens of thousands of atoms, most of which are just busy confusing your neurotransmitters, but it could be some serious medical issues if the proportion got high enough.

Well, since you’ve invented it, it’s almost inevitable that such a device will be re-invented by someone else at some point, anyway. You might as well make a profit off of it—and at least you’re someone who’s concerned about the societal effects, and are trying to prevent the creation/enslavement of AIs. Better you with a foot in the door than someone less scrupulous.

I know the SDMB frowns on fighting the hypothetical, but it’s the frickin’ holodeck; you may as well figure MacGyver’s safely locked up in the old toolshed out back.

I’m sorry to say I can address this.
the holodeck doesn’t use holograms per se, it’s more like transporter technology.
The holodeck continuously creates and destroys matter, so if the safeties are off, the bullets will kill you because they are real.

First, I’m fairly sure that they are holograms made of photons, somehow solidified. There’re frequent references in Voyager to the Doctor being a “photonic being”.

Second, that doesn’t matter. What matters is what happens to a bullet lodged inside you after they drag you off the Holodeck? Does it disappear when it crosses the threshold, or does it remain? Other items tossed off the holodeck disappear when they leave the area covered by the holographic emitters, so why not bullets and the food in your stomach?

Thanks for the laugh!

In Star Trek, the holodeck works in conjunction with replicators. Any holofood that you intend to ingest is replaced with replicated food.

They aren’t consistent about this, as they also say they use light and forcefields. Most fans have just assumed it does both, along with a third type of matter called “holodeck matter,” which needs some sort of projected energy to remain coherent.

I’ve never really got the whole ‘it will be the last invention’. At its most basic level, it is just another form of entertainment. A highly immersive one true, but I can’t see it being an worse for the average person than computer games/movies/etc. I’m sure you’d quickly get the same relationship tropes as games do now just replace WOW/X-Box with ‘holodeck’ “My boyfriend spends all his time in the holodeck”, etc.

As others have pointed out, you’re still going to have to pay your rent and your power bill. In fact, I would suspect the power cost of a holodeck would be astronomical, probably making it a very high-end luxury item.

Don’t bother. A big, giant holodeck room is too costly and cumbersome, and Google Glass and other similar portable stuff will make your technology obsolete before you can make a profit. At this stage you are saying that you invented a fax machine or a beeper in the late nineties.

Sell it. I can’t think of a downside - the people who would waste their entire lives in fantasy worlds generally already are doing that anyway with TV and the Internet. For the rest of us, it’s just a cool entertainment medium.

And Sr_Siete, OP did say the emitters were portable, not dedicated rooms.