Friday, June 10, 2011

Big Projects, lets tear down the old toll roads

I just finished reading "In the Plex", a book about Google's mission to disrupt the world and I found it very inspiring. So many entities justify their existence in the world by paving a road and sitting on it for ten, twenty, a hundred years collecting a toll for what they did (more like what the founders did) so long ago. Naturally when hovercars are invented they whine and scream and go to Congress demanding that hovercars be outlawed because it would destroy their business.

I feel inspired but I also feel at cross roads with my Free Software ideology-Sergey Brin had read Telsa's biography-Telsa, like Franklin gave away all his technology but he died in obscurity-Sergey felt that if Telsa had more resources he could carry out his ambitious plans. Google is pumping the billions that they make through advertising into efficient data centers, speech to text translation and self driving cars. (Hint: they drive better then Californians.) Redhat's own CEO gave a insight into why Redhat will never be like Microsoft: for every dollar Redhat makes, it replaces 100 dollars in proprietary software. However Redhat contributions back to GNU, GNOME and Linux allowed Google to scale to the large heights that allowed it's algorithms to work effectively. (A Google employee gave a demonstration at CITRIS on AI. He demonstrated on an accuracy over 'dataset size' graph that a simple, unoptimized algorithm can deliver more accurate results once the dataset as reached a certain size-it followed exponential growth.) I wonder what advanced could be made if Google released their wonderful AI based search engine for the community to develop off of. Do we need to keep a portion of our advances secret to fund the next generation? Is there a way to make obscene profits off of the Free Software movement so we can have the scale, the weight to make change in society?

With that in mind here are some projects that I think society should take on:

State wide community broadband

Neurofeedback for criminal rehabilitation
-Alot of people who commit crimes have poor impulse control-NF can help with that alleving prisons of repeat offenders.

Web 2.0 for Governments
-all forms that we fill out should have an easy web 2.0 interface and a manager where we can check on the status on the form. Same with tickets or fines.

Rechargeable Batteries that last FOREVER!
-We need immortal rechargeable batteries if we plan to move to renewable energy. We need to scale them to a certain size to replace coal and natural gas power plants. Utilities will like this even if there is no renewable component-to handle fluctuations in demand that are not predicted, they will bring a natural gas powerplant online or increase output. A coal powerplant takes much longer to increase output but is much cheaper while a natural gas one is much more expensive but faster. Replacing it with a giant battery charged by the surplus wind and solar energy will be very welcome.


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