April 16th, 2010

Steampunk girl with backpack

No relation to anything else at all, really

Pretend we're somewhere in the near future, AI still seems to be impossible (or at least perpetually "20 years away") but biotechnology is really taking off.

Suppose someone has developed a technique that will cause someone to become incredibly focused on specific tasks. Let's call this process "Focusing" someone (for no particular reason. ;) Once you're Focused you will obsess about your job to the exclusion of all else, it becomes the only thing of any interest to you. You don't care about friends or family or entertainment or anything else anymore. Needless to say while in this state you become highly productive. Also needless to say, most companies would love to have most of their employees Focused. (You do need some unFocused people for management, to direct the Focused people to Focus on the _right_ task, so it's not like you could have an entire company of Focused people.)

Let's further suppose that at least some companies are willing to hire people to be focused full time on a contract basis. They get a great salary, and the company provides room and board as well. After all, if you're Focused you don't care if you sleep in a barracks and eat cafeteria food every day, you're just interested in getting back to work. Also suppose that there are sufficient legal safeguards in place that you don't need to worry about abuse or perpetual slavery.

And finally let's assume the process is easily reversible, but let's not for the moment make any assumptions one way or the other about how quickly it can be turned on and off. (In part the poll is to see how quickly you'd have to be able to toggle it in order to make a "reasonable" number of people interested in the idea.)

Under what circumstances would you consider using that treatment?

I wouldn't, I don't believe in altering the brain/mind.
I'm okay with brain/mind alteration in general, but this doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
I'd be willing to use it to get ahead in my own personal projects.
I'd be willing to use it for work just so it wouldn't be boring.
I'd be willing to use it for work if my company was willing to pay me more.
I'd be willing to use it for work if my company was willing to pay me a _lot_ more.

How long would you be willing to use it (per session)

A couple hours a day, on some days.
A couple hours a day every workday.
A couple days a week.
A couple weeks a month.
A couple months a year.
A couple years a lifetime.

Would you be willing to enter into such a contract for at least a year or more if it would reasonably guarantee that, given proper investment, you'd be pretty much set for life after the contract expired?

Yes, but only if my SO were also entering into such a contract
Yes, but only if some other detail was dealt with

How long a contract would you be willing to consider?

1 Year
2 Years
3 Years
5 Years
10 Years
15 Years
20 Years
25 Years

When would you want to enter into such a contract, obviously presuming you had the chance to do your life over

20s/Right after college: Get it out of the way early and enjoy the rest of my life.
30s/After having a regular career for a little while: Live life while you're young!
40s: Getting on in years so you need an edge.
50s: Had a chance to have a relationship/raise a family/whatever. There's time to take a break now.
60s: it's just like retirement!
70s or more: old people ain't got no reason to live anyways!

Edit: If you guys _really_ want to delve into the technical details of how the process works or doesn't work, go read Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky," because i suspect that trying to explain it all in comments is doomed to failure (though i may try that anyways =)