Founder, The Roots of Progress (rootsofprogress.org)
Tyler Cowen did something like this for covid: https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/03/1-million-plus-in-emergent-ventures-prizes-for-coronavirus-work.html
I liked Vitalik's post and generally agree
Good point, I agree! Something important to creating the right research lab team and culture.
Hmm, I don't agree with how you are characterizing my assumptions about human nature. I'm not assuming that scientists are after money or prestige. I assume most of them, or at least the best of them, are motivated by curiosity, the desire to discover and to know, and the value of scientific knowledge for humanity.
Re accountability, I frankly think we could do with a bit less of it. Accountability is always in tension with research freedom.
Re people performing for their superiors: I actually think scientists performing for their managers would be a much healthier model than what we have today, which is scientists performing for their grant committees. I have another piece on this that I plan to publish soon.
Curiosity is already a very strong motivator, we just need to enable it and get out of the way. Give scientists funding without making them narrowly constrain their goals, dial down their ambition, or spend half their time writing grants. Then give them the research freedom to pursue that curiosity wherever it leads. It's not easy but it is pretty simple.
Good question, I don't know. People have been talking about “progress studies” or the “progress movement” or “progress community”, and others have talked about the “abundance agenda”, but none of those lend themselves to personal labels/identities…
I have never particularly liked the term “techno-optimism” anyway. “Optimism” on its own is confusing enough. “Techno-optimism” implies that not only do you think we can solve all problems, but that technology will be the solution to all of them, which is not really true.
Thanks, good point about the flow here.
Thanks Robert. I think progress studies needs a more well-defined value system. I have gestured at “humanism” as the basis for this, but it needs much more.
I agree that Rand's ideas are important here, particularly her view of creative/productive work as a noble activity and of scientists, inventors and business leaders as heroic figures.