How much for your brain?
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How much for your brain?

June 13, 2023

In our modern era, we have witnessed a remarkable shift in the way we approach computation. We no longer rely solely on physical machines housed within our premises; instead, we rent computers in the ethereal realm of the cloud. It’s a convenient arrangement that grants us access to computational power without the hassle of maintenance or obsolescence. But the wonders of rental don’t stop there. We have taken a step further and begun leasing machine learning models for predictive tasks, tapping into the immense potential of algorithms to enhance our decision-making. OpenAI and its pre-trained models stand as prime examples of this fascinating trend.

However, amidst this burgeoning rental revolution, another peculiar concept emerges. We pay people to work in our companies, as we’ve done for centuries. Yet, in this age of computation and connectivity, one cannot help but imagine an alternate reality, a dystopian future where instead of selling our workforce to companies, we rent our brains to them. Yes, you read that right. Imagine a world where your cerebral prowess becomes a commodity, and your brain’s computational power is up for lease.

In this surreal future, we connect our brains to a sophisticated interface, akin to the cloud-computing model we have now, for a predetermined duration. Companies, eager to harness our neural prowess, utilize our brain’s computational abilities to crunch numbers, process data, and solve complex problems. And at the end of each working day, we receive monetary compensation for renting out the magnificent, albeit mysterious, workings of our grey matter.

But what determines the value of our rented brains? Ah, that’s the catch. The key to our earning potential lies in the peculiarities of our own minds. The faster our thought processes, the more efficient our computational abilities, the greater our monetary reward. We become the racehorses of the digital age, prized for the swiftness of our mental gallops.

Moreover, just as experience adds value to the machine learning models we lease, so too does it enhance the worth of our rented brains. Think of it as brain training on steroids. The more experiences our minds encounter, the richer our mental tapestry becomes, and the more valuable our computational power. Embarking on a globe-trotting adventure or diving into new and diverse endeavors becomes an investment, fueling the growth of our intellectual capital. The world would become a playground for knowledge seekers, as exploring different cultures and domains transforms from a mere passion to a shrewd business move.

Now, before you dismiss this idea as nothing more than a whimsical flight of fancy, take a moment to reflect on the implications. If the computational power of our brains becomes a rented resource, what would happen to the traditional job market? Would companies cease hiring employees altogether, relying solely on rented brainpower? And what about the delicate balance of work and personal life? Would we become slaves to the digital realm, leasing out our thoughts day in and day out?

Certainly, such a future would present numerous challenges and ethical quandaries. The potential exploitation of human intellect, the erosion of personal privacy, and the dangers of overreliance on technology would all loom large. Yet, it’s crucial to acknowledge the underlying humor in this bizarre vision. After all, who wouldn’t chuckle at the thought of job listings asking for “fast-brained, well-traveled individuals” or the advent of brain rental agencies?

So, dear reader, as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology and human interaction, it’s essential to approach these tantalizing prospects with a mix of caution and curiosity. While the idea of renting our brains may seem like a far-flung concept from a science fiction novel, we must remember that our own capacity for innovation often exceeds our imagination’s bounds. With Neuralink’s ambitions inching closer to reality, we would be wise to keep an open mind and a playful spirit as we peer into the looking glass of the future.

And who knows? Perhaps someday, when you find yourself facing a dilemma between a traditional job and renting out your brain, you’ll look back on this peculiar essay and find solace in its whimsy. Until then, let us revel in the fascinating realm of possibilities, where clouds are not just for computers, and our minds possess the potential to reshape the very foundations of labor and productivity.

To add more irony to the post let me confess that this essay was completely generated by ChatGPT. I had the original idea about renting brain power, but I wanted to experiment how well a machine learning model could concretise an abstract idea in a text. The quality of the text is good enough, but imagine how good would it be if instead of a machine learning model I had used the brain of a professional writer.

You can see the original prompt and the generated text here.