Re: Value of prizes ?

Brian Atkins (
Thu, 27 May 1999 18:04:10 -0400

jonwill wrote:
> Brian Atkins wrote:
> > I was reading this over at Edge:
> >
> >
> >
> > regarding the usefulness of giving away prizes for certain
> > science and/or tech advances. It seems to me that in general
> > this is a good idea, although as discussed on the site there
> > are certain limitations. I'd be curious if this has come up
> > on the list before, and what the consensus (if any) was.
> >
> > So what if there was a site, say, where
> > anyone could go and make donations using their credit card
> > to a prize of their choice? Would this be worth setting up
> > to get us moving even faster to the maybe-Singularity?
> >
> > Lemme know what you think, because I have to decide eventually
> > whether or not to pay for the domain :-)
> Is your idea to set up an informational site with links to current prizes that
> accept donations, or to establish prize categories and accept donations for
> these new prizes? If it is the later, you need to legally establish non-profit
> status which involves time and expense.

The latter.

> If you are going to undertake the effort and expense, you should determine what
> is the most effective method for achieving your desired results. One who finds a
> science and/or tech advance has a good chance of getting funding to further
> pursue said efforts from venture capitalists or businesses interested in the
> technology. Therefore, the prize may be superfluous at that point. It may be
> more beneficial to accept donations for funding promising research efforts that
> would not be done because of a lack of funds. Just some things to consider.

Well having the funds that are donated used for funding research would seem to me to be harder to do. I mean, the people donating are going to probably want status reports and the like, that besides wasting the researchers' time, would require more time from me to keep the site updated. I'm thinking more of something simpler and more automated, where all I have to do is write a check from the non-profit's bank account if someone meets the criteria for a prize. And yes, by that point they might not need the money, but who knows- they could use the cash to go off and work on something really radical that maybe the VCs wouldn't want to fund?

> Cheers,
> Jon

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