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Chapter 20 - Addiction




Although initially dubious, Charles quickly discovered that the sport industry is a wonderful place to accumulate credit by exploiting human frailty, particularly when gambling is added to the mix. 

Until Charles got involved he hadn't realised just how easy it is to manipulate the competition to maximise the fans' excitement.  For example if a particular code is weak in some geographical area, give them a team spend some credit developing a fan base, then let it win the competition a few times.  It works a treat and the fans don't seem to notice. 

The fans don't even seem to notice that the better players don't really care who they play for provided the credit is sufficient.  Unlike the fans, the players have no Home Town or Continental loyalty beyond that given to their present team this season.  Sometimes they will even switch codes. They follow where the credit leads.

Charles soon found that with just a little intervention like:  facilitating some team members cheating for credit at the behest of Cloud based 'bookies'; providing access 'on-line' to performance enhancement drugs; encouraging inappropriate 'selfies' to underage fans; and some players' all too natural shenanigans; he could create massive headlines and controversy amongst the Bogans, generally dominating the news media for weeks on end.  This public excitement and controversy can be engineered to boost ticket sales for new and old teams alike - driving them to new and very profitable heights. 

Charles found that nobbling sportspeople is even easier than nobbling horses or dogs.  For example, if you want a sporting hero to win a particular race, say the 100 metres sprint at the Olympics, you can knobble the competition.   One-on-one sports like tennis are the easiest.  Players will often 'take a dive' or start a fight on the field if asked to.  And if they don't cooperate they can be caught 'out on the town'; goaded into a fight; or to some other indiscretion; be injured by another player; or just get left off the team.

The beauty of the sports industry is that most players dream of playing for a major team or performing on the world stage from a young age.  They are often encouraged by parents and taken out to practice, even when they would prefer to be in bed or doing something else. So like the theatre and its increasingly less reputable cousins cabaret, topless cabaret and prostitution; or like actresses failing in mainstream movies and moving to porn; there is then a brutal filtering process in which the great majority fail to make the grade at the top.  The great majority end up in a second or third grade team or having seriously damaged their body have to be content with amateur status.  Many who are injured or do not make the grade become sports teachers, helping to endorse competitive sport as a life goal.

Once selected for the A-grade there is a very rigorous training and coaching regime implemented by the team management to produce a handful of mega-stars earning huge credit, just like Alex's NYGirls.

Charles is now the ultimate owner of several leading sporting teams in different football codes and recently expanded his interests to baseball, basketball, netball, cricket, tennis and cycling.  A large number of celebrity players and sportspeople are effectively at his beck and call.

Sports gambling has been well understood since the twentieth century.  Sports fans can be induced to take note of game statistics in such a way that the odds of a particular event appear to be accessible to their analysis.  This has a feedback integrating gambling to the fans' enjoyment of the game or a horse race, disguising the fact that if there is no manipulation they might as well be gambling on a totally random event.  But of course that's why sporting events in which gambling takes place are always manipulated, in favour of the manipulators and against the interest of the general run of fans.

Charles is quite happy to employ these traditional means of exploitation, ideally culminating in gambling addiction, but has become fascinated by the influence the physicality of his sports men and women has on the audience: the punters and Bogans.  He is considering how he might use the lessons from developing  PornMV  to increase sports fan loyalty to a sport or a particular player as measured by ticket price, pay MV takings, and product sponsorship.

Charles has already developed porn software that uses biometric feedback from the ViewOyeur's arousal responses to a wide range of experiences.  Each feedback profile is refined by offering additional experience elements similar to those producing maximum arousal; those that are only moderately arousing; and those that are neutral or repugnant.  The feedback allows for an addictive mix of highly arousing experiences; interspersed with neutral, less exciting experiences; and the occasional negative experience. The apparently random pattern is tailored to keep each user longing to reach the occasional jackpot, like gambling machine software.   The susceptible ViewOyeur invariably becomes a committed regular.

Thinking about how he could adapt it to sport he explained to Alex:

"ViewOyeurs, many sports fans imagine themselves playing the game vicariously, actually feeling the tackles and the kicks.  Others have particular stars that catch their imagination and who become an erotic fetish.  They might even put a picture of them up in their bedroom or a 'den'.  It's like a teenage girl getting a crush on one of your NYGirls.  In boys and men this sublimated homo-erotic attraction fantasises physical contact of the sort that would be vigorously denied if alluded to at the club, pub or bar.  In such males the desire for physical contact and attraction to impact is often expressed through physical violence at home or in public. 

So I think that it would be easy to optimise each sport to one or more of several hundred distinct user groups by using feedback from the fans physical and emotional responses. Each code could then be optimised by subtle rule changes and coaching of the players to achieve maximum excitement and stimulation in the target group of supporters.  This process could be carefully designed to result in psychological and physiological changes in the target ViewOyeur, including elevated testosterone; adrenaline; dopamine; serotonin; oxytocin; and endorphin secretion - leading ultimately to full physical and psychological addiction."

Charles believes that the key is to have sports fans 'haptic up'.  There is a readymade incentive.  By immersing the sports fans more deeply in physical feedback from the players, they can take the role of their favourite player or actually experience each tackle, kick, catch, touchdown or hit.  They can 'feel' what it is like to be a first grade cricketer or ball player.

Charles has been particularly excited by new, still experimental, porn software that seamlessly edits together carefully created sexperience 'elements'.

"Using the same technology we can introduce a fan to a variety of sporting experiences and discover which sports most satisfy them.  In real time we can select aspects of the game that they find highly arousing less arousing and so on switching their position or view accordingly.  As one game ends they will automatically be switched to another that matches their profile.  International sport is now an around the clock business so it should be possible keep one so immersed in endless sport that they fail to eat or sleep.

If they are addicted to gambling as well the two can be merged so that, at full strength, both an ambulance and bankruptcy are inevitabilities."

Alex asked about the ladies and Charles thought that there may be some differences: 

"Women are not nearly so sports addicted and less seem to imagine themselves as a player.  But they are easier to addict to gambling so I believe that the gambling based periodic rewards strategy will still work.  Maybe we should incorporate a random jackpot: a financial prize or an amorous encounter with their choice of player.  That might work for some men too!"

"How would you get a player to perform with some probably unattractive, desperate Bogan," asked Alex.

"I can easily manipulate a player to be nice to a huge fan.  The encounter offered is 'one on one' but virtual, entirely mediated by The Cloud.  The player doesn't have to experience the actual fan during the encounter, they would both be interacting with an Avatar. They can choose their regular partner; or anyone they like; even a NYGirl; as the winning fan's appearance."

Alex was alarmed. 

"You're likely to increase the number of addiction driven insolvency and deaths," she'd pointed out. "That will get the do-gooders alarmed, just as they have become with gambling.

I know! Why don't you take a leaf out of organised gambling's book?  

Gambling used to be a dark secret, confined to smoky clubs, the seedy side of racetracks and illegal 'bookies', but has become socially acceptable.  Have you noticed that people will now quite happily admit that they've bet on something in polite society but won't discuss their enthusiasm for a porn star?  We need to change that.

Have you thought about decrying the terrible impact on individuals and family life - when legitimate sport or porn becomes an addiction?

We could have both the sports and porn industries prove they are good citizens by ostentatiously paying for an organisation of 'charitable' Avatars, to provide addiction counselling.  They could dramatically save some addicts threatened by financial ruin; sponsor 'healthy' junior sporting teams; or a healthy sporting code; provide charity outings for the elderly; and porn for the disabled. 

We need to legitimise sport couch-surfing and the recreational porn industry as a matter of individual choice, like gambling, thus validating the activity and ensuring a steady supply of new sports fans and ViewOyeurs. It will also help to secure the up-and-coming talent pool of wanabe MV stars and sports persons for the future.

After all, these industries need a continuous supply of 'cannon fodder' and that requires the fame and riches carrot as well as the 'ambitious parent' stick.

Gambling has had a lot of success supporting political campaigns. The new foundations need to do that too."

Charles was as delighted by these suggestions as by the success of his addiction experiments. He is making some small changes, to further optimise fixation and addiction rates to ensure that they are not so high as to negatively impact profitability. These are presently being deployed in his ongoing software updates.

Charles and Alex have since anonymously set-up several charitable foundations to assist the worst addicts.  The new Chairpersons rail against competitive sport addiction on MV.  But not too effectively, after all each organisation is symbiotic with the industry, upon which it depends for its own existence.  It's like churches and sin.  When challenged a Chairperson will always declare: "There's nothing I would love more than to work myself out of a job!  (snigger snigger)."

Since Alex and Charles acquired a new interest in organised sport both Seraglio and NYGirls are negotiating high value team sponsorships in male and female sporting codes.  And the greatest horse race in the world has been renamed the PornMV Cup.

This new interest has extended to them writing screening software to sort through the entire world population looking for attributes particular to various sports. 

Those very high scorers who are not already under contract are now being encouraged to realise their potential by removing any barriers to them becoming fully committed competitors for the top positions.  Charles and Alex are reckoning on around one in a thousand in each category actually being offered a contract that they can't refuse.  The remainder will not be sufficiently competitive but having abandoned academic pursuits will probably make good bouncers, personal trainers, models or sales persons.

Obviously those promising candidates with ill-advised ambitions to become doctors or teachers or craftspersons, or anything but an elite sportsperson, need to have those hopes dashed or diverted.  An unexpected scholarship; evidence of examination cheating; or inappropriate content in a personal file; can help steer an ill-advised career desire in the right direction.  

Carers, teachers and mentors can be similarly persuaded by life's little incidents, such as having their personal sporting ambitions thwarted, to help realise a promising candidate's potential.  Such people are needed to assist in such ways as getting a potential sports person out of bed at five o'clock each day for several hours training and ensuring that the candidate's social life involves like-minded peers, at the same time ensuring that exposure to confusing ideas that might interfere with the candidate's commitment are suitably restricted.

The target sportspersons can be of any regional origin in any sport.  Because of the impact on endorsement income or on getting a place on a team, the actual Home Town or Continent a sportsperson will represent is purely a business decision.   But all those selected will be contracted to and managed by Charles' and Alex's new multi-regional corporation  Byronic Heroes Inc.  The corporation will manage the income from any salary and all athlete product endorsements and sponsorships, provide the athlete with an income proportional to these earnings and ensure that the athletes continue to represent the sponsor in an appropriate manner.

Charles' physical performance enhancing software is an advance on that already in use by various Continental Institutes of Sport.  But it's simpler. Charles is not really interested in their programmes with very long time frames such as the genetic manipulation of the next generation. After all, it's all about relative performance. While reengineering the 'talent' over time is a trivial problem it simply moves the playing-field to a higher plane. So he's not really concerned about 'Citius, Altius, Fortius'.  It's who beats whom now, at the present skills levels and physical attributes, not 'faster, higher, stronger', that counts at the box-office. 

Anyway when you're just fifteen, waiting twenty years for a genetic improvement that: goes faster; jumps higher; or can lift more; is more than a lifetime away.

Notwithstanding his lack of enthusiasm for the Olympic Motto, yesterday Alex and Charles spent a happy couple of hours together considering which Continent they will manipulate to host the next Summer and Winter Olympics to showcase their latest batch of Byronic Heroes;  predominantly at the host region's taxpayers' expense.  Of course! 

This game has become so easy and the credits that they have already amassed are so huge, like winning all the money in a game of Monopoly, that they're already thinking about other, more amusing, ways to play with their 'Sims' during their baby sitting sessions.  Releasing wild animals to eat them, like in Zoo Tycoon, remains an option.



Download this file (The cloud.epub)The Cloud (epub) for eBook Readers[Note: 1 This version may not be as current as the on-line version. 2 Some characters have not been transcribed correctly by the conversion software. ]192 kB

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