Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Speaking of Code Monkeys

Have you all seen this news? It's a downright dangerous bit of research.

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/040809/full/040809-10.html

How long will it be before our employers start force feeding us drugs to make us all workaholics?

old_timer
Thursday, August 12, 2004

How long before we start "voluntarily" taking them just to keep up?

hoser
Thursday, August 12, 2004

It remains to be seen what these things "feel" like when you take them (it's hard for a monkey to tell you).  If they have a high-like effect, you can expect them to quickly become schedule 2, and thus distributed at every bar and club in the world!

devinmoore.com
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Work more for progressively less reward? Why bother with drugs when a good old con job works equally well ( http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ )?

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, August 12, 2004

++How long before we start "voluntarily" taking them just to keep up? ++

as soon as its available!!!  i'd love to get rid of my lazyness...

Kenny
Thursday, August 12, 2004

You don't really need a drug for this. Just give the monkeys a Tony Robbins video.

Anyone see the comercial where a guy's cell phone falls into the gorilla pit? Good stuff.

Dutch Boyd
Thursday, August 12, 2004

"How long will it be before our employers start force feeding us drugs to make us all workaholics?"

I don't know about that monkey serum, because it involves sticking a needle into your brain, but one drug that is already available and pretty amazing is Modafinil ( http://www.modafinil.com/article/off-label.html ). It just turns off your need for sleep, and it's not a stimulant. You don't feel jittery or hyper or anything, you just... don't get tired!

Mr. O
Thursday, August 12, 2004

I would prefer something that eliminates boredom. If I can stay excited, I can stay awake.

Peter
Thursday, August 12, 2004

The OP's concerns are valid, but in my case, I would welcome a dose of "kickinthebuttus"...

MediocreDev
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Has August, 12 turned into April, 1st ? This is dreadful.

Pakter
Thursday, August 12, 2004

This dopamine tweaking is an old trick - this is only a new method of doing it.

If you want to experience the same benefits of the monkeys, all the following substances have the exact same effect on dopamine levels:

1. Crystal Methamphetamine
2. Cocaine
3. Ritalin

Tom Peters
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Laziness is the mother  of invention, it drives us to work smart, not hard...

Chris Peacock
Thursday, August 12, 2004

I have found that Ritalin (I was on the stuff when I was younger.  Apparently being bored is a reason for medication in today’s public school system) killed my abstract thinking ability.  I wonder if this would have similar effects. 

Jon Lindbo
Thursday, August 12, 2004

+++but one drug that is already available and pretty amazing is Modafinil ( http://www.modafinil.com/article/off-label.html ). It just turns off your need for sleep, and it's not a stimulant. You don't feel jittery or hyper or anything, you just... don't get tired!+++

it doesn't turn off your NEED to sleep, it turns off your DESIRE to sleep.  These are two VERY different things.

muppet
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Cocane does *not* have the same effect as meth or ritalin.

And self-medication with meth is not recomended either.  It tends to cause perminant changes to one's neurochemestry.  For the worse.  Plus, as a drug of abuse, it's traditionally used in levels far exceeding minimum effective clinical dose. 

Basicly, if you already had ADD, it makes it much much worse.  And it's hard to find medications for your newfound ADD because some percentage of them will now cause you interesting side effects.

It's generally a great way to leave the human race, I've been told.

I think that the danger of mucking around with Things We Don't Understand is underappreciated.  Thankfully, the FDA has been at least reasonable about these things, which is why everybody's not taking ritalin and Modafinil  I have a bad feeling that Modafinil is going to turn out to not be the sort of really wonderful thing it is alleged to be.

I will say that I've experienced no cognitive penalty from being on Ritalin -- even abstract thinking.  I'm just go from Smart and Doesn't GEt Things Done to Smart and Gets Things Done.

Flamebait Sr.
Thursday, August 12, 2004

"And self-medication with meth is not recomended either.  It tends to cause perminant changes to one's neurochemestry."

As does chronic use of both cocaine and ritalin.

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Or any substance that effects changes in brain function through altering chemical levels.

You use substance X on a regular basis at location L.

Your brain picks up on cues that you use that general amount of substance X on a regular basis at location L.

When it senses these cues in the future, even before actual usage of the drug, the brain begins to send signals out that alter processes in the body to compensate for the impending chemical alterations from the substance abuse. For instance, in the case of cocaine, chemicals are released that slow the heart to offset the effect cocaine has of speeding it up.

You go to location M and do the same amount of substance X as you usually did at L. This time you die. You die because of the lack of those same cues in your new environment.

jc
Thursday, August 12, 2004

I read the same article, but I thought of Alfie Kohn's "Punished by Rewards."

The point the article makes (at least the version of it I read) is that monkeys, and humans, focus on the reward and do just as much as they need to, in just the right amount of time, to get it.  The scientists are simply making the monkeys forget about the reward, and as a result the monkeys do better.  This is exactly what Kohn's book argues.

Kyralessa
Thursday, August 12, 2004

True, Dennis.

However, at least with medicating people who have ADD with ritalin, there's a case history.  People have been taking it for years to deal with narcolepsy.  The gross mental and physical changes are at least partially understood and the possibility for any nasty surprises are far lower than crystal meth or crack.

The problem with crystal meth is that it causes all kinds of fun new perminant neurochemestry changes and, in general, is one of the harder drugs to kick.  Great stuff, I'm sure.

Flamebait Sr.
Friday, August 13, 2004

>perminant neurochemestry

Does it improve your spelling too.

.
Saturday, August 14, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home