Wednesday, May 16, 2012

TWELVE: helpful hands

Today i managed to clock some actual discussion hours both with my co-workers and also this afternoon with somebody who actually works in research.

I love these discussions. I feel like i am growing with every extra bit of information or insight i receive from others.

So basically i had a better look at hackerspaces and then went into the chat room on mirc to talk to some nerds. It worked a treat. :)

I need to look through the log and read the important bits again to fully digest what has been discussed.

One key problem is that we need to know the problems. I might have had some vague idea why R&D is slow, but it probably is very flawed. Which means the problems i see, might not be the real problems. So for us to figure out how to speed research up, we need to find the problems.

For instance, even if we had a crowd to poor funding into research, the actual research institutes might not be keen to utilise the resource because it wouldn't be as reliable of a source as their normal government or private industry funds.

Then there is the problem of how the money gets allocated.

Can it really be decided by the people, or can it only be done by an expert board?

What sort of balance could we strike to help create a sense of "ownership" or "contribution" or "involvement" for the general public, but still manage the spend the money the right way?

Then there is the problem of people not liking failure. Research is inherently littered with not succeeding, and people generally don't handle disappointment well. If my understanding of people is correct.

So to keep their continued interest and to keep them contributing resources, they need to be compensated for failure. This effect of being disillusioned in something just because you failed during the few first tries needs to be sorted out.

Probably there is something in the "scientist" mindset or outlook on things that makes them less prone to being disillusioned by failing. 

About research funding:
It seems that a "kickstarter" kind of set up wouldn't be attractive for research institutes because they wouldn't be able to predict how much you are going to get on a continuing basis.
So if that is the case, we need to make sure that our funding is just as predictable as funding by governments or private sector.

Then there is the issue that if the funds are gathered based on what looks good for the public and not on what actually has scientific merit, or if the research institute has good scientific record, then the money might not end up in the right spots.

And there is the issue of failure. To make sure that the research is not a dead end we need constant review.

All in all, it was great to chat with somebody who is actually doing research.

I think the trick is going to be to allow for parts of the system to monitor the state and communicate with other parts.
The researchers need to know how much money is going their way, and how reliable that source is going to be, because they need to plan out their budgets according to the available funds.
The crowd needs to know how the research is going, and what it all actually means. They need to be informed about what is happening, to help their decision making. This might require experts providing helpful comments or tutorials to explain issues or reasons why things aren't going the way they planned. The crowd also needs to be informed where more resources are needed so it can be allocated and sent efficiently.

I want to do it more.

On another note:
i really need to plan out the whole system more and present it in a way people can look at it more critically and point out specific problems they see. I am not sure how to do that. I probably will need to draft up something quite long and detailed.

Now to keep with the spirit of open source i am planning to do it all out in the open. I am not sure where yet.If you have any suggestion, just shoot me a comment or something.

At any rate i think i have too much on my plate. I need to sleep, but there is all these things i need to do to keep going at this project and try get more people interested so i can have great discussions like the one this afternoon.

So much to learn, so many problems to solve, and so little time for it.

Maybe i should do a crowd sourced crowd funded longevity project first, cause at this rate i will need 100 lifetimes to get this project barely started.

But really, i don't need to live a 100 lives. I just need 99 other people living one life to add to mine. The problem is it is going to be hard to get one extra dedicated member.

It all comes down to motivation again.

Stupid motivation...

Anyway i need to restructure my time and efforts to make more use of what i have.

So i need to cut down on reporting and spamming. A lot of people will love this bit. :)

I need to increase reading relevant literature and also planning specifics. I also need to increase documentation of actual progress but without the useless crap filling.

I also want to start gathering more data about the project. I need to figure out what data is relevant and would be useful.

And at the same time i still need to keep the crowd engaged however little that engagement might be for now.

Fill out the poll people, tell your friends about us, think about the problems, and leave comments if you have some spare insight to shoot my way. Everything will be greatly appreciated.

Remember there is a tea party to attend on the far side of the moon, and it's not going to be easy to get there. But that is why i want to do it.

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