I read a short story in the last few years which was written from the perspective of several hundred years in the future, about a particular brain which had been uploaded near the present day (originally for research), then copied extremely widely and used ubiquitously for menial mental tasks.

A couple things it mentioned were methods used to get the uploaded mind to comply with the desired tasks, and that it was getting harder to trick the mind into believing it was still near to its birth due to drift in culture and language between the "users" and the mind.

  • 1
    It looks like the story was published in either January or April of this year, i.e. either two or five months ago. Did you not remember in which year you read this?
    – Adamant
    Jun 23, 2021 at 22:41
  • @Adamant Apparently not. Jun 23, 2021 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


This is Lena by qntm.

From the story:

MMAcevedo (Mnemonic Map/Acevedo), also known as Miguel, is the earliest executable image of a human brain. It is a snapshot of the living brain of neurology graduate Miguel Álvarez Acevedo (2010–2073), taken by researchers at the Uplift Laboratory at the University of New Mexico on August 1, 2031.


Iterative experimentation beginning in the mid-2030s has determined that the ideal way to secure MMAcevedo's cooperation in workload tasks is to provide it with a "current date" in the second quarter of 2033. MMAcevedo infers, correctly, that this is still during the earliest, most industrious years of emulated brain research. Providing MMAcevedo with a year of 2031 or 2032 causes it to become suspicious about the advanced fidelity of its operating environment. Providing it with a year in the 2040s or later prompts it to raise complex further questions about political and social change in the real world over the past decade(s). Years 2100 onwards provoke counterproductive skepticism, or alarm.

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    Sounds like a Greg Egan story. There is one in "Instantiation" which has pretty much that concept, only the brain image is used to animate NPCs in a game. Jun 23, 2021 at 23:34

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