Birth of the Brainstorming project
As things stand right now, no matter how successful and happy you are, your time will end. If you are young you might just not realize it yet. Humanity will eventually conquer our current major problems — including biological mortality. Will this be within our lifetime? There are ways of shifting the odds in our favor. Here is my attempt to contribute.
Every generation comes into this world with zero knowledge. We spend a few decades learning, a few decades creating, and then we run out of life.
Why I’m driven by this problem
As a child, first faced with the concept of mortality, I was soothed to believe that only people who want to die, actually do so. I eventually figured out that there were design flaws we needed to fix before this becomes a reality. Being young, I thought there would be plenty of time to become a scientist.
Life, however, had non-academic plans for me. It turned out I was good at ideation and strategic planning. Early success allowed me to spend my time building random projects for the sake of happiness. Years later, it dawned on me, as the philosopher Confucius put it: “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”
With my background now mismatched to my mission, I asked myself; “How can my specific knowledge be useful towards a goal which is outside my area of expertise?” The question turned out to be the answer. The Brainstorming project was created as a way for anyone to contribute to their fields of passion, regardless of their expertise. The platform is designed to harness our collective intelligence and unleash it on specific problems. It is built on three premises:
- Intellectual synergy; Good ideas can be made brilliant through collaboration.
- Intellectual diversity; Different minds look at problems from different perspectives. What may be obvious to one person, can spark a revelation in another brain that is wired just a little differently.
- Intellectual flexibility; Passion drives progress even where knowledge has yet to catch up. As the model example, look at Elon Musk changing lanes from a self-taught computer programmer to a successful rocket engineer.
So the brainstorming platform brings the right people together; matches them by passion rather than just expertise, helps them bridge the different paradigms, and keeps the destructive human behaviors at bay. The focus is on having the thought process move from mini-breakthrough to breakthrough.
The platform is based on the hypothesis that focused collective ideation gives rise to an emergent property – creative superpower. Focusing our collective creativity on one problem at a time should increase our efficiency at solving hard problems. This should put humanity on a faster path to making our technologies catch up with our ambitions.
My use case scenario
Just as Youtube is a general-purpose video sharing platform geared toward everyone interested in sharing or viewing videos, Brainstorming.com is a general-purpose brainstorming platform geared toward creative people interested in collaborative problem-solving. Within the sea of mixed content, there are some concerted efforts to do good for the world. A Youtube example of such an effort is the Team Trees campaign where people came together to combat climate change. Analogous to this, is how I personally intend to use the Brainstorming platform. To be clear, the platform itself is general purpose — designed to cater for any ideas people feel passionate about. For me, this is longevity.
My currently small team of researchers is dedicated to helping solve every person’s ultimate problem — the inevitability of aging and death. In line with the “law of the hammer” our tool of choice is the Brainstorming platform. We identify worthy directions within our field of interest and work on getting the right people to collaborate on solutions.
Prioritizing the problems
Why focus on longevity? Let’s put it this way – if we don’t fix climate change within our generation, the next one will have a more difficult world to live in and still be working on solving the problem. However, if we don’t fix aging within our generation — the entire generation will be gone, forever. To you and me, this is the end of the road. If we are to work on future problems, we have to solve this one first.
When we manage to deal with aging, people will be able to keep on creating without a reset every 60–70 years. Imagine what the world would be like if Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, and the rest of their calibre were still here, healthy and sharp. Eventually, one generation will be the last with an expiration date. Why not us? We just have to come together like our lives depend on it.
Good news! They do.