TLDR: How can a 100-strong hive mind utilise our superpower in order to generate \$1billion as fast possible?
All 100 of us share a common mind and can think as one. Instant, undetectable, thought transfer. None of us are rich, but we're all currently employed in low-paying jobs. Must keep low profile. Can be amoral.
Earth has been slated to be deconstructed for raw materials for an intergalactic empire. A single alien environmentalist travels to Earth, just to double check that the planet is truly empty and barren, like the official report says. To her shock she finds billions of biosignatures from millions of unique species.
She travelled here using a constant acceleration relativistic drive (FTL is impossible, obviously). 4 weeks elapsed for her (most of which she spent in stasis out of sheer boredom) but 1000 years passed for everyone else. When she left the robotic planet-dismantling harvesters were 2000 years away, now they are only 1000 years away.
To stop them, she needs to send a detailed report of the life forms found on Earth, including details of the breadth and depth of humanity, to the nearest embassy of the galactic empire - 495 light years away. They will then need to signal the robotic fleet to stop - another 495 light years of communication. She must send that report in 10 years otherwise it will be too late and Earth will be destroyed by the time the "cancel" signal reaches the robots. Her ship's communicator isn't powerful enough to send a message that far, and her ship has no FTL. Her drive could get her to the embassy in about 700 years - but by then it'd be too late for Earth. Her tiny ship can't attack the robotic dismantler fleet (she has no weapons and they fire in self defence). And she can't do anything herself - she has no knowledge of Earth's capabilities, resources, or tech.
In desperation, she uses her race's natural hive mind abilities to form a connection with 99 random humans on the planet. Their minds are linked into a 100-body being with 1 common mind as powerful as all hundred, and with the full knowledge combined of each of their lives. This hive mind - we - awake to the realisation of just how screwed humanity is.
After some brainstorming - we've calculated the only workable solution is to build a very complex constellation of long-range transmitters in deep space from hybrid Earth/alien tech, write a report on how non-barren Earth is, and transmit it, all within 10 years. After some intense eBay-ing, lots of shopping around, and getting bulk discounts where we can, we've written a shopping list. It's not cheap. We need about $1B USD within 10 years to purchase the parts we need, although sooner would be safer.
That's \$100m per year. \$1m per body per year. Minimum. We have a super power (our hive mind), but that's all we have going for us. How can we utilise our hive mind in order to generate a large sum of cash as fast as possible?
Details of how the hive mind works:
- The connection is completely undetectable and unjammable by any Earth technology. Works through faraday cages.
- Respects relativity - no FTL info transfer. This has a max range of about 2 light seconds (600,000km) before the connection cuts out temporarily. (This is for safety reasons - "Death by Lag" is bad way to die). Returning a member within range will auto relink the hive mind.
- The further apart we are, the slower we can exchange information, and the slower we respond to events. (Reflexes excluded). Distributed around the surface of Earth we're passable for normal humans.
- Idle minds can help busy minds think. If 99 of us are sitting idly gently meditating and 1 of us is getting an IQ test, expect an IQ of about 190.
- If all 100 of us are getting the same IQ test done at the same time, we work together to solve it, expect IQs of about 190.
- There are inefficiencies in the system when 100 brains need to think 100 different things simultaneously. If all 100 of us are getting completely different IQ tests simultaneously, expect measured IQs of about 90.
- Information exchange is total and complete. We know every members deepest darkest secret. Information is replicated like a DHT, so the death of one of us doesn't erase what they knew from our minds. We have access to all memories of the aliens "home" hive mind, that's how we know how to build the communicator.
- Sensory exchange is total and complete. We know everything that any of our eyes have seen, the instant they see it. Thought exchange is instant. (instant = speed of light transfer)
- Mental skill exchange is total and complete. Everyone in the hundred can now speak and understand English, French, Mandarin, and all the other languages of the 100.
- Physical skill exchange is imperfect as each body has its own unique control functionality, but still its very fast to transfer a skill from one body to the next - One guy was a really good juggler, after 10 minutes of practice, a body which had never juggled before can now do a 5 ball cascade.
- Mental health issues are basically eradicated. Some hormone imbalances continue, but having 99 other points of view of every issue so deeply connected to one's own view helps minimise the negative effects. Your OCD / Anxiety / Depression / PTSD is basically outvoted.
- Bodies that are sleeping still contribute mental power to the hive.
- 100 is the maximum number of minds linked together at any one time - we can't expand it.
- We're stuck with the 99 humans and 1 alien. No easy way to change which humans are in the hive now, shy of flying one of us 2 light seconds into space.
- Death of a member in the hive is more traumatic than losing 99 soul mates. Self sacrifice / suicide missions are an option but the cost will be very high.
Other info on the initial state:
- We are currently scattered randomly over the planet, speaking various languages, varying skin colour, ages, citizenships, genders, etc. Some of us are dirt poor, some of us have comforts and some resources but nobody is a millionaire. We can afford to get visas, fly all members to one location and rent a big building for a few months as a starting point, but that's about it.
- It was perfectly random. Expect ~18 Chinese, ~17 Indians, ~4 from USA. etc. ~50 males. ~50 females. Etc.
- All of us are employed in some way currently, but nobody has a really high paying job. We have lots of people earning a few dollars per day as farmhands in 3rd world countries, and a few office workers in the first world. Odd fry cook and pizza delivery guy thrown in too perhaps. Nothing over $50k USD / yr.
- Nobody under 18 is in the hive, nobody over 60 is in the hive.
- We need about one billion USD over the next decade to complete our task on Earth, this includes parts, fuel for the space ship, normal human living expenses, plus a space to work, plus cover businesses, etc.
- The robotic planet dismantlers will defend themselves if attacked, and will not notice the billions of screaming creatures, even if humanity puts up a giant "stop" sign - they'll just dismantle it for raw materials. If they see life they'll dismantle them.
- The alien's body is spending all its time writing the report and building things with the expensive equipment purchased. 99 human bodies are free to work full time on getting as much money as possible.
- The alien information isn't particularly monetizable, we don't have their full archive, just what was known to the alien researcher and their home hive - most of their mid to high end tech needs elements which are really rare or absent on Earth, and the other low end tech we have schematics for are things humanity has already achieved. It was luck we can even build the long range communicator.
- We can use our existing space ship to launch things on the cheap, quickly, and secretly. They need to be launched out of the solar system (away from interference from solar wind), and are unlikely to be detected by Earth.
- The motivation for getting lots of money to complete the mission ASAP is enough that "ends justify the means". Compared to the earth-ending consequences of not sending this report, minor things like "theft" or "mass murder" are footnotes. We'd obviously rather finish it in 9 years with no death than 8 years with mass murder, but our morality is clear on this.
- We want to keep this quiet and away from scrutiny as much as possible, as if anyone knows about the hive mind or the alien we'll risk a vivisection, on either our human or alien bodies.