Re: List of unresolved problems?

From: upgrade (
Date: Fri Apr 28 2000 - 17:24:24 MDT

At 06:08 PM 4/28/00 -0500, wrote:
>Do you know of any lists of important social (also economic, medical, etc.)
>problems that are yet unresolved, but could possibly be resolved with some
>yet-non-existent technology?
>If you were asked to name such problems, what would you say
>are the most important?

How about also compiling a list of important problems for which
the "solution technology" is "available" right now, but not being

I put "solution technology" in quotes because any technology
may be a practical solution for something, but if there isn't
"something" (an element of that technology) that leads to its
implementation, then it's not really a solution technology yet.

Similarly, I put "available" in quotes, because something can
be available in the sense that it's been developed and proven
to work, but for cultural reasons, people don't implement it.
So, for practical purposes, it's not yet available -- even if it's
published and available to anyone who can read.

Case in point: Ignaz Semmelweiz was the first doctor to
advocate that doctors wash and disinfect their hands before
treating patients. This was a "solution" to the problem of
many mothers and babies dying from infections during

For a period of about 30 years, Semmelweiz was ignored
and/or ridiculed. So his "solution technology" (disinfecting
doctors' hands) only became a solution 30 years after he'd
proved its workability. Even though he'd published his "solution"
and it was "available" in the sense that other doctors could
read it, it wasn't really available because for cultural reasons
it wasn't implemented -- until 30 years later.

Frederick Mann

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