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Distributed Thinking

Use a similar idea to SETI@Home, and have people work on solving problems in their spare time
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Following the idea of people donating computer cycles for projects such as SETI@Home, human thought could be harnessed to solve problems.

I remember when I was in Junior High and High School, there would be projects and even competitions where groups of students would work on solutions to problems, such as pollution from coal plants, reducing carbon emissions, and so on.

The idea is that people would use some of their spare time to work on these problems and post their thoughts online. Discussion would help hammer out the ideas, and possibly arrive at some solutions.

harryjreb, Jan 15 2009

Debatepedia http://wiki.idebate...ome_to_Debatepedia!
[jutta, Jan 15 2009]

Debategraph.org http://debategraph.org/
When you sign up for this, use a throw-away account - they're pretty aggressive about forwarding updates to you. [jutta, Jan 15 2009]

Think Day Think_20Day
or Distributed Human Analysis Day [xaviergisz, Jan 15 2009]


       Online collaboration and discussion already exists. What's the difference between what you see going on all around you and this?
jutta, Jan 15 2009

       The general idea is that we have a vast amount of human minds out there, and while there are countless forums and communities online, it doesn't seem to me that we're any closer to solving issues such as controlling carbon dioxide emissions, more efficient ways to conduct various government functions, and so on.   

       If a structure to focus thinking on these issues exists, why aren't these problems solved by now? Where can I go if I want to find a proven or untried solution for these problems? That's my point in this idea.
harryjreb, Jan 15 2009

       Here are some links to more structured discussion forums - but I can't make those attempts not suck.
jutta, Jan 15 2009

       I'm talking about solid information and solutions as opposed to "debate" and opinions. Essentially asking "What will actually solve the issue at hand?" This idea of "distributed thinking" means people use spare time to collaborate with other people on solid workable solutions.   

       To pose another example, we could have people working on General Relativity in their spare time to work the whole thing out (I don't know offhand if this is something that actually needs doing; it is only an example for illustration).   

       The idea is to have a site where people are focused on solving world issues that everyone talks about as a problem, but don't seem to get solved.
harryjreb, Jan 15 2009

       // I'm talking about solid information and solutions as opposed to "debate" and opinions.   

       People often disagree on what the "right" solution for something is, or on whether something is "solid". What do you do in that case?
jutta, Jan 15 2009

       I originally didn't think this idea was related to "Think Day" as I didn't think it should be limited to a single day, but I will add a note to that idea.   

       Regarding people "disagreeing" on the "right" solution, I emphasize that I am talking about "workable" solutions as opposed to "theoretical" solutions. If a solution is proven to help toward solving a problem, I don't think there would be much room for any debate.
harryjreb, Jan 15 2009

       The solution may have other undesirable side effects. For example, one solution for "too much drug use" would be to search everybody, demand blood and urine tests at every street corner, and kill anyone caught intoxicated or carrying drugs or drug paraphernalia. That'll definitely lower the incidence of intoxication - as well as create lots of new jobs in the funeral business -, but most people would still have a problem with it.   

       Generally, often, the discussion doesn't seem to be about whether something works at all, but about which thing works best, or with the smallest undesirable side effects. Those decisions involve many fields of knowledge, and lots and lots of insecurity.
jutta, Jan 15 2009

theircompetitor, Jan 16 2009

       What was that projects name, hmmmm... The big idea was ahead of itself by just long enough to encourage faster development. It was to adhoc portable computers. Make these available to young minds where access to other like-minds was limited. Limited via the current impossiblity of owning a computer, let alone getting online. Compuer and internet access are beyond so many youth.   

       The initial designs included a hand cranked generator for power. And the project was somewhat open to open source development by volunteers. This ambitious and masterfully operated colaberative endeavor still lacked a coheasive, intuitive, access for the public at large. No GUI ....   

       I think this will soon change. The gears are in motion.   

       Ironically, motion forward is now in so many different separate factions that a clear best choice will take longer to take hold. Soon though this collaboration, around the globe will become the way many disciplines will take knowledge already in place and help find solutions, in a way that is not quite here... yet!
Sir_Misspeller, Jan 16 2009

       I imagine that "distributed thinking" is what scientists aim for (besides money, fame, etc) when they publish papers--to get more people thinking along the same lines and see if anyone comes up with anything.
Spacecoyote, Jan 16 2009

       Or as I like to put it, "None of us is as dumb as all of us."
Spacecoyote, Jan 16 2009


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