Re: a to-do list for the next century

From: Stirling Westrup (
Date: Wed Mar 22 2000 - 15:55:04 MST

d.brin wrote:

> Hello friends, this is a quick query for some of the most imaginative and
> tech savvy people I know.
> *What bold endeavors do you wish you could see funded in the next decade?

There is a *large* list of things that I would like to see started in the
next decade. A quick list of the ones on top of my head at the moment are:

1) Rebuild the entire World-Wide-Web so that it was more usefull to more
people in more ways. What we have now is a pale imitation of what we could
achieve. It should (without requiring extra work from the web designer) be
able to support a huge range of disabled people, both physically and
cognitively. It should be able to categorize and present information based
on your interests, what you are currently focussed on seeing, what would
be economically beneficial for you to see, and that you've asked about. It
should be able to represent the same data in a hundred different ways, and
combine it with data from a myriad of sources. It should be as machine-
readable as it is human readable, and it should be infinitely adaptable to
new technologies and modalities of thinking. And it should be answerable
to the user at every level of presentation. (Some friends and I actually
have a plan for implementing just such an update. If we could come up with
50 million or so, we could start right away.)

2) Invest in the people of undeveloped countries. Human beings are the
most precious untapped resource on the planet, and there are easily a
dozen business models that show how much money you could make by providing
education, housing and a start in business to the impoverished in the
third world, in exchange for a piece of the action. The main problem is
that you have to be willing to plan to start making a major profit in only
20 or 30 years, and you have to take the whims of foreign governments into
account. Depending on which models you choose, you can start small (the
Grameen (sp?) bank started with US$100.00) or with a big investment (50
billion to go whole hog, I figure).

3) Fund a project to take NASA's plans for a self-replicating lunar
factory and make it a reality. This has an up-front cost in the hundreds
of billions, but has an exponential pay-off.

4) Start a Singularity Institute who's main objectives would be to fund
exploration into the many fields that could lead to trancendence. This
would include Neurology, Nanotech, Sentient Systems, Complexity, Genetics,
Advanced Materials, and others. It would also have a large PR and
strategic planning wing to figure out how to present new technologies in a
non-threatening manner.

5) Start a chain of 'real food' restaurants. Nothing but real butter,
whole grain breads and pastas, grain-fed free range beef and chicken, all
with as little chemical forcing as possible. Let people discover what food
used to taste like.

 Stirling Westrup  |  Use of the Internet by this poster       |  is not to be construed as a tacit
                   |  endorsement of Western Technological
                   |  Civilization or its appurtenances.

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