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100-yr challenges: societal equilibria in knowledge and discovery, coordination and flow, power and decision-making.

Provocation: 100 and change?[edit]


The MacArthur Foundation has a recurring challenge: to charities and innovators who have a world-changing idea, that would benefit from ~$100M for development and scaling. This stimulates thousands of thoughtful proposals and a bit of matchmaking. (the first iteration spent 1+ years in review and gave 4 final projects between $5M and 100M).

Wikimedia runs a similar campaign each year: spending roughly $100M across the movement. Over $500M in its lifetime to date. What else could we accomplish with these resources?

Mozilla spends 4x that (largely maintaining a software ecosystem in a competitive environment).


100 months is an internet generation; a good timeframe for measuring social and memetic change. What templates work on that timescale, and what ideas can we map to them?

100 years is a good timeframe for observing equilibrium shifts and planning new planets and futures, without having to move to an island (on Earth or in space). How do both the important and urgent crusades of today look in a century's time? What institutions (cities, states, clans; buildings, organizations, systems) are planning, designing, and maintaining feedback loops on that timescale?


Some say that the critical threshold for a successful/lasting project like a new township, collaborative site, or farmstead is O(100) people or families. How can we experiment with launching new collaborations to see which ones redound?


Elevating research and discovery as a profession[edit]

  • What's the Point of Academic Publishing? - Kendzior. (impliciy: replacing IF and 'Publish or Perish' with measures of meaningful public impact)
  • Commonwealth of Science - Reproducibility | arXiv & universal preprints (Immediacy / access / iteration)
  • ...

Universal assets: housing, food, health, income[edit]

  • Housing - Homestead acts (some US states: right to own lodging and a vehicle cannot be taken away)
  • Housing - default housing built out by cities for their population (compact permanent housing, not shelters)
  • Health - health care, including preventative and hospice care
  • Work - access + matching to meaningful labor, regardless of background or capacity
  • Support - access to spiritual support and mental care, including for those who cannot help themselves
  • Income - Basic income (Alaska, Finland, Cherokee nation)
  • ...

Norms, Laws, Regulations, Fines and Prison[edit]

Law since Solon is increasingly not self-explanatory. Prisons can be counterproductive and self-propagating. Court cases can take a decade and a life's savings.

  • Alternatives to lengthy trials and incarceration
  • Automation, iteration, and soft security for basic norms
  • Experimentation (rather than monoculture) for norm-setting and the impact of regulation
  • Proportional alternatives to fines and punishments (esp in power-law environments)
  • Meta-solutions to subversion of shared systems: regulatory capture, graft, monopoly, market cornering, forced intermediation.
  • ...