This thread is intended to provide a space for 'crazy' ideas. Ideas that spontaneously come to mind (and feel great), ideas you long wanted to tell but never found the place and time for and also for ideas you think should be obvious and simple - but nobody ever mentions them.
This thread itself is such an idea. Or rather the tangent of such an idea which I post below as a seed for this thread.
Rules for this thread:
- Each crazy idea goes into its own top level comment and may be commented there.
- Voting should be based primarily on how original the idea is.
- Meta discussion of the thread should go to the top level comment intended for that purpose.
If this should become a regular thread I suggest the following :
- Use "Crazy Ideas Thread" in the title.
- Copy the rules.
- Add the tag "crazy_idea".
- Create a top-level comment saying 'Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be ideas or similar'
- Add a second top-level comment with an initial crazy idea to start participation.
Legalize doping and other artificial human enhancements in sports, but require them to reveal what drugs they are using. Create new sports if you want to encourage specific enhancements.
It would lead to arms races between medical teams and pharmaceutical companies and even if it would harm sportsmen themselves, the fact that new drugs would constantly be invented and perfected would help even ordinary people, because after a while those new drugs and other human enhancements would become available on the market.
Use already existing Paralympic Games to test artificial limbs.
I've always thought that a site or subreddit simulating the gradual creation of a legal system might be worthwhile. Call it YouBeTheJudge or something similar.
That is, each week you give the readers an incident. Details should look vaguely like Mock Trial, They render judgement, guided only by their own morality. Initially nothing constrains the court, thereafter it is limited only by the precedent that it has established.
Spin off new world any time one world gets too far into the weeds, maybe they are nations and you can do international incidents eventually?
Seems like it might be popular enough to sell to someone eventually. Long shot, but then I'd never have predicted that Epic Rap Battles of History would have succeeded.
This is a crazy idea that I'm not at all convinced about, but I'll go ahead and post it anyway. Criticism welcome!
Rationality and common sense might be bad for your chances of achieving something great, because you need to irrationally believe that it's possible at all. That might sound obvious, but such idealism can make the difference between failure and success even in science, and even at the highest levels.
For example, Descartes and Leibniz saw the world as something created by a benevolent God and full of harmony that can be discovered by reason. That's a very irrational belief, but they ended up making huge advances in science by trying to find that harmony. In contrast, their opponents Hume, Hobbes, Locke etc. held a much more LW-ish position called "empiricism". They all failed to achieve much outside of philosophy, arguably because they didn't have a strong irrational belief that harmony could be found.
If you want to achieve something great, don't be a skeptic about it. Be utterly idealistic.
LW/CFAR should develop a rationality curriculum for Elementary School Students. While the Sequences are a great start for adults and precocious teens with existing sympathies to the ideas presented therein, there's very little in the way of rationality training accessible to (let alone intended for) children.
Harvest organs from living, healthy, poor donors. Go to a poor country and find batches of 100 people earning $1 a day who are willing to give up their lives with probability .01 in return for 20 years wages. You will have to pay out $730,000 per batch, but in return you get the healthy organs from a living donor which should be worth a lot more than this. Run the operation as a charity to reduce negative publicity, and truthfully stress that the prime goal of the charity is to help the poorest of the poor.
Most people do not consider "perform a single step which has an X chance of death" and "perform two steps, one of which is an X chance, and another of which kills with certainty the person chosen in the first step" to be equivalent.
Most of the world has deontological ethics, not consequentialist.
We need to create more rivers! Water transport is still cheap and important for development, but sub-Saharan Africa and the middle of Asia are sadly deficient in rivers.
River creation is an interesting example of something which isn't forbidden by the laws of physics, but seems utterly unfeasible. Is there any imaginable technology for making rivers?
Canal creation was the infrastructure boom at the start of the industrial revolution, before railroads. One particularly impressive work is the Barton Aqueduct.
Ancient idea, actually.
Edited to add: Current proposals.
Careful, as new seas can sometimes backfire horribly or change rapidly depending on local hydrologic, agricultural, or geological conditions - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea
A quick Google, and...
I am also not sure why you think the technology is difficult. You just dig. The traditional "technology" is slave labour.
I don't think that's true, see the graph from this article: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/helium-hokum-why-airships-will-never-be-part-of-our-transportation-infrastructure/
We should strongly discourage smart people from coming up with innovative new forms of torture, slavery, or other conditions that have been long recognized as social ills.
A botnet startup. People sign up for the service, and install an open source program on their computer. The program can:
For every quantum of data transferred / calculated, the user earns a token. These tokens can then be used to buy bandwidth/cycles of other users on the network. You can also buy tokens for real money (including crypto-currency).
Any job that you choose to execute... (read more)
Since we'd rather look at well-dressed people than badly dressed people, good clothes have positive externalities, and should therefore be subsidized. (The main problem with this is who would get to decide which clothes count as "good" for this purpose.)
Employers pay well-dressed people more money and in general beautiful people get all sorts of advantages. Do you think that isn't enough of a subsidy?
America should take up the metric system.
The government picks arbitrary ages for when an individual has the mental capacity to make certain decisions, like drinking alcohol or having sex. But not everyone mentally matures at the same rate. It'd be nice to have an institution that allows minors with good backgrounds and who pass certain intelligence/rationality tests to be exempt from these laws.
Keep kindergartens dirty to help children avoid developing allergies.
A portion of a student's first two years salary (say, 10%) should go to the people who taught them the hard skills necessary to get that job (relative to how much those skills are needed on the job)
Companies could use relative importance testing to figure out which skills they valued to which degree, and teachers could keep track of which skills they taught students, and use standardized microdegrees to prove they had taught those students those skills.
immediate prerequisites would get say, 3% of the that 10%, and pre-pre-requisites would get 3% o... (read more)
Discussion of this thread goes here; all other top-level comments should be ideas or similar.
I dislike these threads. They encourage and reward ill thought out contrarian (often straight up crackpot) ideas. Correcting them is a large cost, in part because convincing an audience doesn't require arguing things that are true, it merely requires arguing things that take more time to refute than to assert. I'd rather not get tangled up in object level for this reason by citing real examples but here is an example of the kind of idea I would expect to see here.
Made up crazy idea (that I expect some people here would endorse):
"Get rid of research ethics boards, they prevent useful research from being done that would benefit society out of an ill founded fear of us becoming the Nazis"
This sort of argument ignores the history behind why research ethics boards exist, and is usually asserted by people who are ignorant of the actual guidelines that research ethics boards abide by. It's also usually asserted without knowledge of the actual abuses of patient trust that were committed before research ethics guidelines were established), which include withholding known treatments and doing liver toxicity study in children without telling them (quite an extensive one in which biopsies were taken, and upon recovery, liver toxicity was re-induced leading to damage lasting at least a month).
(Of course, it took me much longer to write that response than to make the initial claim)
I am in strong support of unrefined ideas, brainstorming and revision. Thinking about more, its not the undefinedness. There is a certain class of ideas that personally frustrate me - they are ideas that are deliberately edgy and extreme, and usually involve violating some common Western value.
I'd say in this thread, there about half top level comments which are genuinely unrefined uncertain but interesting ideas. The rest, maybe less than half are edgy contrarian ideas. Although looking back to the last Crazy Ideas thread, over 90% seem like genuinely experimental ideas. Maybe I should just wait for a few more iterations.
Adding rivers was thinking too small. What we need is planet-sculpting-- getting closer to a planet which is optimized for human beings. I suspect that we'd be better off with more and smaller land masses, but this is certainly open to discussion.
Since the politics might be almost (?) as hard as the physical engineering, perhaps the right thing is to move Venus and Mars to more convenient orbits and optiform them.
Let's talk about Von Neumann probes.
Assume that the most successful civilizations exist digitally. A subset of those civilizations would selfishly pursue colonization; the most convenient means would be through Von Neumann machines.
Tipler (1981) pointed out that due to exponential growth, such probes should already be common in our galaxy. Since we haven't observed any, we must be alone in the universe. Sagan and Newman countered that intelligent species should actually try to destroy probes as soon as they are detected. This counterargument, known as... (read more)
Murder is basically a victimless crime, because when you murder someone, there is no one left to be a victim. Murderers should be punished only for inconveniences that murder caused to other people who are still living.
Causing extinction of humanity would be a perfect victimless crime.
We could double humanity's genetic "shuffle rate" by allowing couples to have one child naturally but requiring men to donate their sperm to a central bank, and women to carry and give birth to "randomly-fathered" children.
Obviously the institutional and logistical (not to mention ethical) challenges make this impossible in any present society. But for a planned community of fixed size (e.g. a small colony of humans attempting to rapidly populate a planet, or a starship designed to support the minimum possible human population with the ... (read more)
How much of the expected rise in sea levels caused by melting glaciers can be rerouted to irrigate large deserts?
Create a software for reading papers that hides actual p-values. Whenever the reader comes along a passage that contains the p value, the reader has to first enter a guess about the p-value before the software than shown him the true value.
What is the U.S. waiting for to annex Cuba?
Sensory Motor Amnesia as described by Thomas Hanna is a important part of aging that misses from Aubrey de Grey list. As most humans age they forget how to relax muscles in their body. The inability to relax specific muscles then leads to health issues.
Somebody should explore if Stonehenge, Carnac stones, and other megalithic formations were banking and payment systems.
More recently, in the isle of Yap, they used big Rai stones as money.
Many megalithic buildings are tombs, places of worship, or served as calendars, but many big stones aligned in open spaces have no conclusive explanation.
I suggest they could have been a way of storing value and were used for payments too. There is evidence that there was trade across the European continent and into the middle east in those times (~6000 BC). Central m... (read more)
Adoption of already existing orphans, refugees and homeless kids should take precedence over the creation of more babies. This should be mandatory in the entire world.
Can MacDonalds be the next Give Directly?
Salty food is addictive (repeat customers)
I haven't heard about salty chip vendors in developing countries.
Assuming potatoes could grow in those countries, labour costs for turning them into chips could be low.
Selling chips could be a financially sustainable business in developing countries
Salt iodisation is cheap
Current competitors in salt iodisation work with governments, with no known private competition
Salt is like a nootropic for the malnourished
Let's open up salty chips vendors in the devel... (read more)