Which Injection Would You Pick

(Part of the 20minute blog challenge)

Yesterday a good friend of mine sent me the picture below with the following text message: “Hi Jur, I know you like thought experiments so that’s why I’m wondering which injection you would pick?”

Below is an overview of the answer I wrote back to my friend.

There are only two potential good answers to this question.

So which ones are just a waste of an injection?

Teleport to any Airport.

I can imagine for people that would love to travel the world, this might sound like an extremely amazing option, but you would be totally utterly wrong.

Think of it this way. What if you picked duplicate money. If you started at 1$, within 50 duplications of that amount you would have more than 100 billion dollars. So when we stick to traveling, what can you do with this money?

First of you could be less selfish than just going for a superpower which you wield only by yourself. Travel is fun because you do it with the ones you love. What is an experience when the only one to experience it with, is yourself? With the 100 billion dollars I would buy a Boeing 747 and fly my entire family out to all the beautiful places in the world. On the way there I would talk with doctors, scientist, innovators, and changemakers on how to spend the money on issues that would benefit the world as a whole.

So teleportation is a selfish choice.

Infinite stamina

This is probably the most useful shot of all of them. Unless you want to be the best at running Spartan Races or marathons… I do not see any use for this super power?

Breathing Underwater

Unless you are a marine biologist or a deep sea diver, I do not see any use for this skill. And again if you love the ocean or marine biology, the infinite money option would be a less selfish act since it would grant you the means of massively cleaning up the ocean and the ability the really preserve wildlife.

Also very useless.

Master any language

In a way, I can understand why people would want this. But for how long will this super power be cool? There are many start-ups right now tackling language barriers. There are companies out there that have the tachnology (special earphones) that can translate conversations of foreign languages in real-time. It will only be a matter of years for language not being a barrier anymore for people all over the world to communicate with each other. So now this is cool, but in ten years you will just be the only one guy on the block that isn’t wearing tiny earphones when listening to a tour-guide speak when in a foreign country. Wooptidoo for that!

So now this is cool, but in ten years you will just be the only one guy on the block that isn’t wearing tiny earphones when listening to a tour-guide when in a foreign country. Wooptidoo for that!

So that leaves me with the final two potential picks:

Instant healing & Duplicate money

But the rule is, you can only take one injection. So you must pick a winner.

Let’s take a look at instant health. What are the pro’s: Well, you’re basically immortal.

You would have the ability to heal yourself to a specific age, that is because age is just nothing more than your body wearing off and losing the ability for cells to heal themselves at the same rate. Being able to heal yourself means you could potentially live forever. You could live through thousands of years and get to have the most incredible life experience a human on this planet will ever have. You get to explore the entire years. You get to have 100’s of different career paths. You get to write all the books you’d like and you get to watch all the movies you wanted since you have unlimited time, that’s pretty cool.

But wait, there should be a drawback, right? And yes there is. When you have unlimited time, this does not mean the people around you have unlimited time too. The ones you love, the people around you, they will all be living a normal human life. Peoples life expectancy might go up, but still, the ones you’d love will die. And you will be left alone with only memories of the people you love. I would not want to have such a life. A life in which everyone around you disappears and you stay behind. I think you would go crazy.

He is so money hungry…

Oke oke, there we go. “Juriaan has tricked me into believing that duplicating money is the best choice.”

Please hear me out. Let me explain to you why. Having the ability to duplicate money will be the most selfless superpower of all. Unfortunately, we live in a world where money makes it go round. If you want to accomplish something, cold hard cash makes it happen. Unless you want to bend rules of doing illegal stuff of course.

Let me explain to you why. Having the ability to duplicate money will be the most selfless superpower of all. Unfortunately, we live in a world where money makes it go round. If you want to accomplish something, cold hard cash makes it happen. From the utmost good to the despicable evil. This means that this superpower comes with great responsibility.

If you wanted to end world hunger, you could save millions of children with money. If you wanted to increase education levels in certain areas of the world, you could build a school every 10 miles and fly out educated teachers and pay them a very good wage. And I can think of hundreds of other amazing deeds you can accomplish with unlimited money.

Money gives you the power to change the world for the better. It grants you the power to stop famine, to stop the disease, to explore space for more habitable planets, it would accelerate science and innovation. When wielded correctly, the money injection can do more good than all the others combined.

So I would pick duplicate money and spend it all to come up with solutions for global problems. The entire human race would benefit from one man taking this injection.

So in the end I asked my friend which one he would pick. He said teleportation and I don’t blame him.

A Fitbit for your brain

(This is part of the 20 minutes blog challenge)

For the past two months (since my birthday) I’ve been walking around with a Fitbit.

The main purpose of this is device is to track my sleep and doing so in the laziest, least infringing way possible. People say you have apps for sleep tracking and they are right, it’s true but those apps need to be activated manually when you go to bed. With the Fitbit, you just go to bed and it tracks your sleep, so it was the perfect solution for me. I can recommend it to everyone.

The device gave me a particularly cool insight. It showed me that when I sleep for ~6 hours, I actually have a better nights rest than when I sleep for 7+. I found this very strange but it made me think.

What if you had a Fitbit for your brain. Like a tiny device that tracked your brain activity. The device could literally track your brains activity and would analyze thinking and emotion patterns produced by your own brain. The device would actively track your daily activities and associate it with brain activity. It would be able to analyze which activities during the day you truly enjoy and give you a happy state based on your brain activities and it could see which ones you don’t like.

At the end of the day, your BrainBit would literally give you an overview of the day and advise you to take cold showers more often since it re-activated certain areas of your brain which were kind of inactive for a long time. It would also advise you to stop watching Youtube video’s of Pewdiepie since your brain activity literally almost comes to a halt.

So how would this BrainBit improve your life?

Take learning, for example, an area which I like a lot: how can I become a faster and better learner? The BrainBit could be amazing for this. Based on my brains activity during the day and night, it could track the following: During the day it would say at which moments I’m the most creative, concentrated or distracted. It would analyze that over a certain time span and it will know exactly when I’m in a high concentration state on when I’m the most creative.

When your BrainBit notices your concentration levels are peaking, it would suggest you do more difficult exercises or tasks since you are in a high concentration state. And then at night during your sleep, it would track if you have the brain activity that is associated with a good night of processing your learnings during the day. If you had a bad processing night (since your BrainBit would have seen that) it would suggest you redo some exercises from the day before. It’s an interesting concept to think about.

My 20 minutes are up now… It’s just a concept so don’t think I believe that future will hold anything like what I described above, but I just liked the thought experiment. Maybe one day we will all have a Brainbit. Who knows, some day we might really need them to still be able to win the cognitive battle from AI. I’m joking, but still, a fun thought to play with.

Have a good one. I’m off to bed.

Join the Rat Race or Die

(This post is part of the 20-minute blog challenge I set for myself: Write more blog posts but only post it if you can produce it in 20 minutes. Let’s see how it goes.)

Silicon Valley

Two months ago I was in Silicon Valley. The trip was amazing. It totally opened my eyes.

But something kept haunting my mind over and over during the trip and some weeks after the trip: “These people are all competing in the biggest and brutal rat races on the planet.”

One of the guest speakers even said it out loud. He is a middle aged husband and father who originally comes from my home country The Netherland. He said that he’s waiting for some big ones to go public (IPO’s of previous companies he worked at) so he can cash out and move his family back to the Netherlands.

Don’t get me wrong. This guy has an amazing life out in SF. He is an SEO and growth God and has no hard time getting VP positions at great tech firms, so his career is far from bad. But still, this wonderful person wanted to leave.

He actually said: “I do not want my kids to grow up in this Rat Race”. When he said it, this scared me a little, Silicon Valley and all that is happening there still is my big dream. But what he said, made me think.

Is being part of the rat race something that comes with progress? Is it a price to pay for huge wealth creation and innovation at the same time? Is it something bad, and is it something that you should be afraid of?

I think not. I think it is something good. This rat race drives progress. It drives people to work the 19 a day and not the 9 a day. And for some people it means putting in the 20 a day because he/she suspects their neighbour puts in a 48 stretch during a phase of amazing flow. There is always someone willing to do the job even harder than you.

It is like Gary V says. There is a world that is totally mobile and the rest of the world. There is a world that gives you the rat race feeling and there is the rest of the world. In which world do you want to be? The world where we still do shopping on a regular computer that needs a constant power supply or do you want to live in a world where shopping is done with one-click on your smartphone.

I know which world I want to live in. The world of progress. If the rat race is something I’ll have to swallow, come and get me, I’m down.

As a personal note to end this glorification of a culture that fosters burn-outs and overheating. I do believe hard work should be something which you plan for and which you prepare for. Your body is the best feedback mechanism on the planet. Listen and feel it. When you go to hard you go to hard.