Evil cyborgs, formerly humans, called the Overseers have set about building gargantuan megafactory arcologies that sprawl across the landscape. In order to keep the massive tangles of pipes and machinery that keep their strange pod-cradle exoskeletons alive & functioning, the Overseers require a workforce.
They decide that humans who are pretty good at climbing around and have clever hands and brains would be a good choice. But there is a pesky issue to be dealt with: consciousness.
The Overseers want to devise the most effective way to control the human workers, with minimal effort and maintenance on their part. Simple slavery will not work because the work is dangerous and the population to hard to control. Some sort of implant or biological engineering may be required.
The solution to the Overseers' problem must. . .
- Be relatively cheap, cost effective & easy to implement on a large scale
- Leave the resulting workforce with sufficient dexterity and intelligence to do fairly complicated tasks like operate machinery
- Leave the Overseers with the ability to direct & order the workforce around and in general assign tasks
- Be within the limits of modern to near future technology & science; that is, no "magic nanotech"
Essentially the Overseers want autonomous fix it and repair drones but lack the tech and resources to use actually robots. And they would prefer to use humans because humans are more clever and nimble and can fit into smaller spaces. However they want absolutely no chance of rebellion, so any solution in which the workforce is still human enough to rebel wont work.
Basically "how to create/control a post human worker drone derived from a baseline human stock