3 challenges of our time, which I decided to devote my energy to. From changing the rules of society, through eternal life, to progress in the ontology of being.
Challenge 1 – A minuscule change to the rules under which society operates with a dramatic impact on the efficiency of human coexistence – introduction of visible money
I work as a programmer. In programming, it is quite normal that after creating a particular functionality for the customer and everything working as expected, one rethinks the whole issue – this time, with all the extra experience compared to the situation before, and – circumstances allowing – codes the app once again, this time with a much better conceptual understanding of the issue. You already know what challenges you’re up to when tackling the issue, what exceptions your system must be able to work with etc. This process is called refactoring. A society-wide refactoring, which had an impact on its functioning, was last implemented by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. 2000 years have passed, but nobody realistically introduced a better and more comprehensive way for the human society to function.
The Christ’s famous “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.” and “Everything you want people to do to you, do to them” was a huge step forward compared to Moses ten commandments, but the rules of society have developed more or less gravitationally since the times of Jesus of Nazareth.
What I’m trying to say is that maybe after 2000 years of experience, the time has come to step back and design the functioning of human society in a more efficient way. What human society of the third millennium should look like is aptly summarized in the book Conversations with God 2 by the American author Neale Donald Walsch. I read this book in the mid-1990s when wild Mečarism and the struggle for privatized property raved in Slovakia. The whole idea is basically quite simple. According to the author, money in the developed societies – that is, those where no one desires anything at the expense of others – is simply fully transparent and visible. In other words, anyone in society can run a check on anyone else and his/her financial standing, assets and flows – at any time. As a software engineer, I realized that this would be feasible by introducing a banking system containing such information, providing such information and serving as a central clearing house for the whole society. If you immediately think of a thousand reasons why the above can’t be implemented, first have a look at https://visiblemoney.org and see my breakdown of the issue from every angle. Alternatively, use your e-mail and subscribe to the newsletter because it is an important indicator for me to see how I manage/fail to address the public.
In a nutshell, I think the transition of the whole society to a transparent financial system where money and possessions and their flows are fully visible is not only necessary to improve the functioning of mankind as a whole, but it has perhaps even become indispensable. This will in fact allow us to impose the controls on some neuralgic areas in society, which are critical to oversee, and classical capitalism does not address their protection. The most striking example is that visible money would make it much easier to control the actual activities of biological laboratories capable of developing a new deadly virus.
Challenge 2 – Progress in medicine, which will allow us to cure all diseases and even old age – and achieve eternal life
The greatest business opportunity of our time, in my opinion, is not the autonomous electric vehicles but something that addresses the needs of each person in a more personal and intimate way than what a cool material asset can do. Scientific progress in all sciences sheds light on the path that will sooner or later become a reality. What I mean is progress in medicine. But not only in the treatment of diseases. There is only a short step from the ability to cure all diseases and reverse the biological processes in the human body – that is, to stop the aging process – or even to directly reverse the human biological clock.
As a software engineer, I see an enormous potential for software technology in the solution of this problem, which concerns every single person. The problem of medicine is the feedback it receives. Your doctor will never tell you with a 100% certainty how your body actually reacts to a particular drug. And certainly not about the possible side effects if you take it 10 years in a row. The software models of the human body could solve this problem. A software model of the human body is in fact a system that can calculate how a particular body part reacts under certain external conditions. Such a virtualization of the human body has become the holy grail of medicine. With the ability to test how the body reacts to different chemicals or treatment, doctors will gain a tool providing them with a thorough insight into each and every cell of the human body.
Every person is keenly interested in own health, and any progress in this field will be rewarded with a huge business success. It is even possible that general artificial intelligence will be achieved by trying to simulate the chemistry and the processes in the human brain rather than building artificial neural networks.
To include the conclusions from this Challenge under the heading of this article, I think that if I managed to earn enough money in Challenge 1 to pay for a decades-long research into Challenge 2, the challenge would be implementable. I know that this opportunity will be exploited by hardworking entrepreneurs, however, if I approached the entire issue systematically and with the target in mind, the whole process could be shortened by years. This can mean the difference between life and death for people in my generation. Or, to correct myself, the difference between eternal life and death.
I think the whole idea is feasible within 20 years in the same way the human genome was analyzed. At the turn of the millennium, the estimated cost of reading the human genome was around a billion dollars. Twenty years later, genetic sequencing can be done commercially for 1000 euro. The process is indeed more difficult; however, it is doable with the technology that has already advanced over the period of said 20 years.
Challenge 3 – Progress in the ontology of being – a 100% proof that the outside world and people around us are as real as ourselves – solution to the problem of loneliness
This challenge is related to the very characteristics of life and existence, which in my view is the greatest curse but also the greatest blessing a person – and all beings in general – can benefit from. I am aware of the fact that only a few people will understand this paragraph. My peers are mostly preoccupied by caring about their surroundings that depend on them – I mean parenthood. If one has such a preoccupation, he/she is happy to call it a day in the evening, and any contemplations on the immortality of bugs will sure seem futile and unnecessary. However, the situation changes dramatically if we really manage to implement Challenge 2 and people get to live indefinitely long. The children grow up and leave, and it is even likely that because of the limited resources on this planet it will not be possible to have an unlimited number of children as is the case now. After overcoming the initial phase of life, people will have other children only in exceptional circumstances. They will have more time for introspection and observation of their inner soul.
Since this section of the post can be very likely construed as extremely personal, perhaps it would be appropriate to introduce my personal context a little. I am 42 years old, and due to multiple sclerosis I’m confined to a wheelchair. It is likely that the disease has not made its last say yet. In such circumstances, I would have to be slightly mad to start a family. I’m trying to say that my personal situation is quite specific, and maybe I’m contemplating the issues that would never cross the mind of a normal person.
There are only a few things man can be absolutely certain about. One of them on this privileged list is René Descartes’ famous “I think, therefore I am”. If elementary logic applies in this case, the fact that man CAN think necessarily implies that they must be a real entity because they “generate” thinking. The vast majority of other things in life are miles away from the certainty man has of his own existence. Human perception and actual reality can be as far away from each other as the feelings of a man in Plato’s proverbial cave who only sees the shadows. Man can only know so much about his own environment as his senses convey. For example, if we have a problem with our perception – e.g. we are colorblind, we’ll never understand how the healthy see the world. Theoretically speaking, the outside world may not be real at all, and it is enough that it appears to be through our senses. In other words, one does not have any proof of his/her surroundings, the things around may not be real, and it is just fine to be continually deceived by our senses. I think the biggest qualitative leap a person can ever experience in the area of perception is the assurance – at the same qualitative level – that one actually exists: the assurance that what really matters in the outside world is as real as oneself. If I ever succeed in having such an assurance about the outside world, I’ll happily sit down and cry for three days. It is most scary and excruciating that we have no certainty whatsoever about the existence of what we care about most.
At the beginning of this Challenge, I said that the lack of assurance about one’s environment is the greatest curse but also the greatest blessing. It is a blessing because if scientific progress is made on this issue, we maybe reach a point where it will be possible, so to speak, to “steal” the identity of the mind. If you think of a billionaire, he would never eat a billion hamburgers and have the same kind of benefit from eating them as the collective benefit of a billion people each eating a single hamburger. If it ever becomes possible to “steal” the mind of another person and see that the person is as real as ourselves, maybe it will be possible to experience the cumulative benefits of the people whose minds we stole. Therefore, scientific progress in this area may be a double-edged sword.
I described the three Challenges, which I’ve decided to devote my energy to – my strength and will permitting. I’ve been pondering the first Challenge on the background since the mid-1990s. I took first concrete steps to introducing visible money about a year ago – by establishing a website about the idea and developing software that the system of visible money could run on. The second Challenge follows the potential success of the first. If I manage to pull off the first one financially, I’ll invest the necessary resources in the development of software models of the human body.
The third Challenge has no light at the end of the tunnel just yet. It depends on scientific progress, which cannot be predicted, and it may be round the corner or millennia away. But people of the 18th century would have had a similar attitude to the functionality of today’s mobile phones and the Internet.