These are questions and ideas I’m curious about, but don’t have much in the way of answers for. I hope to keep this as a living document, adding relevant information as I find it.
The U.S. is full of places where you have row after row of houses, each with 1-2 cars, a lawn mower, snow blower, washer, dryer, a garage of tools, and more. Everybody has to have their own, but do we really? I get with the current set up it’s not feasible to share everything, but it seems so excessive and just wasting so much collective time & money.
There are so many incredibly talented humans who go off to school, get top quality educations, then spend their lives shuffling numbers back and forth in the stock market. All that potential just dissapears into the churn of business. It’s not their fault, they are following the incentive which helps them and their family, can’t fault that. Everyone knows teaching, social work, etc. is terribly paid and it’s a common joke, but nothing ever changes around it? How can the vast amount of human potential lost in the rat race get converted into valuable effort focused against the many, many issues that still exist. Related to Bringing the present to more of the world
How does one figure out what their passions are?
It blows my mind that on one hand, you can have pretty much the same life for decades if you don’t have any inclination to change yourself and have found a comfortable job/family/etc. that doesn’t force change, and on the other, you can have people who change careers to wildly different fields in just 6 months or become fluent in a language in 3. We have these preconceived notions of things taking a very long time, but there are loads of examples of humans moving super fast.
Some people seem to have an easier time breaking the mold and doing whatever comes to their mind. We look down on Flat Earthers, Big Foot Hunters, etc. but maybe there is something we can learn from them, whether or not you believe what they say. It’s difficult to go against common convention.
There are millions of people like me, who grew up in a school system that taught you to shy away from failure and actually learning came second. It destroys your curiosity, your creativity, and you become a machine that’s only goal is to do as good as possible on arbitrary test questions that only somewhat show your knowledge.
There’s lots of people working to make teaching better, though somewhat slow about it. How do we retroactively rewire all these 20-50 year old adults to look at failure in a different light, and be willing to try new things?
Log4Shell opened up discussion again on the crappy system we have for open source software powering huge chunks of the internet, with companies benefiting massively and often not supporting the efforts of maintainers.
Oftentimes it’s not even necessarily about the money - dealing with running a business isn’t what open source maintainers signed up for, especially if they do it for enjoyment.
“What I do is a side project for fun; turning it into a job isn’t attractive. I’ve rejected sponsorships because I don’t want someone else defining my priorities. I’m fortunate not to need money from OSS, but I think that’s where most maintainers are? It’s hard to imagine someone will be willing to pay me enough for me to want to deal with the consequences of getting paid. :)”
Consumption is rampant, and not just the products we buy. The packaging of everything is so often single use, or even when it is recyclable, it becomes single use because it’s too difficult to get from the consumer’s hands back to a place it could be reused. There’s 2 big questions here - 1. how do we stop the overwhelming flow? 2. what do we do with the garbage we’ve produced?
I think for 1, we’ll need to have new materials either created or become cheap enough that they are economically worthwhile to use over (currently cheaper) solutions like plastic. This could either be through organic means, or artificial like when goverments started using carbon tax. Currently companies have no responsibility for what happens to a product’s materials once they’ve sold, and it seems difficult to make happen - better to aim for easier paths forward. For 2, I have no idea, but whoever can figure out a simple way to make money off of processing garbage will be a bajillionaire because there is such a huge backlog.
Some of us live in a world where average people, not just billionaires, can unlock their phones with just a glance while sitting in a self-driving electric car. This is the present, not even the distant future. At the exact same time, there are millions of humans who don’t know if they will have enough to eat to make it through the week. Global wealth disparity is not a new issue, but there has to be more which can be done. I refuse to believe the collective brain power of millions of people can’t find solutions to bring up the quality of life for the millions just like them except for the circumstances of birth.
Somewhat of an extension to this idea is tech literacy for all - across all demographics. How can we ease people, especially older generations, into technology? Give them access to it’s capabilities in an approachable way. An extension of the extension - finding ways to keep everyone safe by default when using technology, despite humans usually being the weak link.
The web is linked together with URLs, but over time sites change where content is saved, sites go offline, companies shutter. Link rot attacks the web, but how do we design around it? Can libraries provide examples we can translate to the digital world?