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.

The problem

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 coming up with ideas and ways of getting them done. Early success allowed me to spend my time building random projects as a way of having fun. 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.”

Solution

With my background seemingly 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, regardless of their expertise. The platform is designed to harness our collective creativity 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 – a problem-solving 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.

What does brainstorming have to do with longevity?

Just as Youtube is a general-purpose video sharing platform for anyone interested in sharing or viewing videos, Brainstorming.com is a general-purpose brainstorming platform for anyone interested in collaborative problem-solving and sharing/iterating their ideas with others. Within the sea of Youtube videos, there are some concerted efforts to do good in the world. A good example of this was the Team Trees campaign where youtubers came together to combat climate change. They were a bunch of videographers, not scientists or engineers. Yet they managed to have an (at least small) effect on climate change.

Analogous to this, is how I personally hope to use the Brainstorming platform. I’m passionate about the field of biological longevity. I might not be a scientist or an engineer, but I have ideas. In line with law of the hammer, I hope to somehow contribute to solving every person’s ultimate problem – aging and the inevitability of death. It’s an extremely complex problem. But we can collectively chip away at it one idea at a time.

I use the platform as training parkour to sharpen my problem-solving skills. Hopefully, someday this will come in handy where it matters the most.

As the platform grows, it gradually attracts creative geniuses from all walks of life. It has the potential of becoming the ultimate problem-solving tool, that can be used to tackle any problem (including aging). Until we have artificial intelligence with superhuman abilities, collective problem-solving is our only hope.

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 caliber 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.

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