Journalist Dmitry Klein gave the readers of his blog a difficult task:
“Let's dream about the future again. This is my question to the respected community:
If there was some international organization with an impeccable reputation, which would openly and transparently do what supported, develop and coordinate research for all of humanity, and it would have hundreds of millions of participants from all over the world (well, let's not discuss the relevant problems, the main idea is really serious and great opportunities) and you personally could donate every month (I can't find the Russian version for this word - "contribute" is not that, "pay" too, so be it) to this organization your 100 euros (or the equivalent for you - someone has more opportunities, someone has less - in general, we are talking about a budget allocation of tens of billions of euros per month), then which three areas of science and technology would you like to support in this way in the coming ten years?
Artificial Intelligence (to achieve the possibility of self-study AI and get super-Intelligence, which can conduct its own research for our common benefit)
Fight aging (achieve at least two to three times the increase in human life expectancy in the next twenty to thirty years)
Technologies of a cheap, autonomous source of clean energy (energy is the basis of any production processes, autonomous clean sources will allow transforming hitherto "uncivilized" territories)
What would be your choice, what would you be willing to give your vote for (and your 100 euros per month)? And would you be ready to participate in such a way at all?"
There were more than enough answers, and they can be roughly divided into medical and technical. Moreover, the former, of course, are in the lead, the fear of weakness and death cannot be avoided by anyone:
- Fighting diabetes, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy - diseases that my loved ones or myself suffered from. I myself am ill with cerebral palsy, there are no options;
- Medicine as a fight against disease. Medicine aimed at fighting aging;
Space exploration, the development of physics, the search for solutions to increase the speed of space travel, the exploration of other planets, the creation of an orbital settlement. Especially looking at what is happening: the glaciers are melting, holes in the magnetic field, the poles are shifting. You need to have a spare place to live;
- Medicine - treatment of diseases; medicine - new diagnostic methods; a new and improved standard in education ... But there is nothing to sacrifice: 100 euros is almost my pension - alas...
- Medicine. School education. Life extension for several decades;
- I would donate to the development of medicine, but without reference to aging - I think it's stupid and useless. The main thing is to ensure a healthy old age. If a person in his 60s and 70s is not sick with Alzheimer's, if he does not have excess weight, a healthy heart and joints, he is already active. It is necessary to fight against specific diseases, or prevent them;
- Clean and cheap energy is very much needed already! It's very straight. Global warming is the same (especially the problem of animal husbandry, how do you feel about meat from a test tube?). Serious illnesses - cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis. Then the extension of life;
- 500 rubles per month from each according to his capabilities, the goal is comprehensive education of poor countries, poor! Free schools and universities, vocational schools. From richer countries, you can collect 50 dollars, better as a percentage of earnings, I live on 100 euros for almost a whole month. Aging, disease, space is secondary, let "Musks" deal with them;
The second most popular are the so-called "technological" dreams:
- Clean energy, a way of recycling plastic and cleaning the world's oceans from it, new technologies in education.
- Clean energy sources and new types of batteries. Eco-friendly modes of transport: high-speed railways, electric planes and water transport, etc. Eco-friendly and humane food industry, healthy nutrition from a medical point of view.
- Development of technologies that will make it possible to quickly end hunger. Although, unfortunately, the main problem today, as before, is "chaos in the heads." And from it, as it turned out, even the best universities no longer save.
- The problem of waste disposal / effective reduction of its amount. There is no more relevant topic. What about extending life in the trash heap?
- I don’t want to look pessimistic, but objectively: AI is now somewhere at the level of a fly. Both programmatically and in terms of resources. Independent research is the human level. Even if in the next 50 years, say, it will be possible to reproduce the hardware analog of the human brain, it will not be possible to create a human brain. To do this, you need to create an environment as complex as ours and competition in this environment. This is not impossible, but such resources simply do not exist and will not exist in the foreseeable future.
It is possible and necessary to fight aging, but this is not 20-30 years, we are still too far from understanding how even the simplest functions of the body work.
An autonomous source of clean energy is batteries.
You can invest in fusion, but it is being done. The Potomac has been built for how many years, and how much money has been invested there? And how big is it?
Money must be invested in the development of the solar system. This is also very long and expensive, but despite all the existing projects and attempts, this is still an underfunded direction. In other directions, they are already working at all possible speed.
- Genetic research, fusion, space technology development. You need to invest in the global and where there is a lack of funding.
There were also those for whom the solution of social problems is most important:
- Capitalism will cope perfectly with everything that you have listed, and I would donate to the development of civil society, the fight against xenophobia, open borders and equal opportunities for all people in the world.
- To limit the expansion of China and Russia. Humane birth control methods.
And, finally, there were those (and quite a few!) Who doubted the effectiveness of this kind of funding:
- Not at all. All people donate with their wallet anyway, no one can define better than the market. For example, the huge medico-pharmaceutical industry is extremely effective in combating disease. Energy sources are being dealt with from Musk to CERN. Only what can be given to fight leftism, xenophobia and nationalism...
- I understand that we are dreaming, but I am a practical person. Having worked in the two largest non-profit companies, I won't give a penny to anyone. and I help specifically - I go to the animals in the shelter to feed them. I have 2 dogs, 2 cats and a turtle - all are saved from death. and if there was an honest organization, I would give everything I could to stop bullying animals. I think it's high time to bring animal rights to another level...
- The market copes with all these problems. It makes no sense at all to create another bureaucratic monster (and humanity cannot create other large organizations yet). You can, of course, speculate about what will happen if and when an organization with the characteristics you described can be created, but for me today, even a discussion of the social life of spherical horses in a vacuum is even more meaningful.
- Don't we already pay much more as taxes?..