These days we work to live rather than live to work, but Silicon Valley thinks the '80s never ended and Star Trek's Borg are a team-building exercise. The reason they don't fit interns with tracking collars is probably that the cops would use them to find their corpses once they drop dead from exhaustion. But that hasn't stopped them from trying some other things that make Silicon Valley look like a dystopian future driven by computers that pretend to understand humanity but get it horrifyingly wrong.
536-Hour Office Fasts
In the Mad Men era, office workers would take long, liquid lunches. These days you are lucky to grab a sandwich at your desk. But at least it's still food of some kind. Brain-supplement company Nootrobox has taken it even further by instituting 36-hour fasts. Weekly 36-hour fasts. Co-founder George Woo calls it "biohacking," which we can only assume means they've reversed the polarity of their brain supplements, because not eating is the exact opposite of what the body evolved to do. And I say "reversed the polarity" because it sounds sciency but is actually complete bullshit, just like almost all "biohacking."
Starving yourself just to keep a full-time job is quite literally like locking the horse to the cart until it dies of hunger. Tricking your body into thinking it is dying every week would be excessive even if you were curing cancer, never mind flogging $15 chewable coffee cubes. Did digestive systems kill George Woo's parents? Did Jabba The Hutt toss them into a Sarlacc pit?
Woo descends the Starvepole to the Starvecave -- the Greengrocer has returned to Gotham!
Thirty-six hours is a lot longer than an average workday, even in Silicon Valley, so staff are encouraged to not give in to the hunger pangs even after they go home. They get around this monstrous illegality by breezily declaring they "adopted it as part of the company culture" and that sound you heard was every worker-compensation lawyer in the world's ears pricking up. Workplace politics shouldn't include measures that would get a prison warden arrested. When the mold in your ventilation shafts is eating more than your staff on a workday, it's time to seriously rethink your company culture.
The next generation of interns disrupts survival mechanisms by self-starting photosynthesis.
Why, exactly, is it so important for all these people to eat only five and a half days per week? So they can make more money for their corporate overlords, of course. Woo reports that there is boosted productivity on days his staff are very slightly working themselves to death. We can only hope it's because they bathe in donuts every evening and are laughing their elevated blood-sugar levels off at their starving boss. And even that would be too light a response. If our bosses tried to starve us so they could get a slightly bigger bonus, the only thing we'd produce would be a cannibal cookout garnished with a nylon tie.
The last time we talked about Bulletproof they were selling buttered coffee as super-soldier serum. Now they're fitting staff with heart monitors, which you'd assume was a direct consequence of chugging caffeinated fat as a health food. Instead it's to train executives out of going into fight-or-flight mode before meetings. Are they having a meeting with a Tyrannosaurus rex? Specifically, a Jurassic Park T. rex, the kind that can't see you if you hold still two feet from its face? Because that bullshit is more biologically sound than strapping yourself to an EKG machine before a conference call.
Still more convincing than a Bulletproof pitch.
The heart-rate sensors alert the wearer if they're not sufficiently relaxed, which we're sure really helps. This is the final step in extreme micromanagement. You should be allowed to have your own body function in peace. A manager should be able to criticize your heart rate only if you work in Gattaca. But Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey wants to take it further: He's asked neuroscientists to fit his staff with brain-monitoring electrodes, which is the most extreme point in applying technology to people. Maybe if they shove them right through the skull they might at least electrify the pleasure center. Silicon Valley is about a year from deciding they need to shock your nuts as employee motivation.
Future Bulletproof employee reviews will actually let them SEE staff thinking, "Fuck this shit."
This is a worse invasion of employee privacy than a team-building weekend of group colonoscopies. Tracking your staff is a great way to tell them they're only here because they're still cheaper than robots. And all these bio-monitors will make it even easier for Bulletproof to detect human infiltrators when they merge with Cyberdyne.