This is a not-at-all exhaustive list of questions I don't know the answer to but find interesting to think about. I made this list on Jan 17th 2021 and haven't added context underlying the questions yet. It's still very tough  :)

Inspired by Patrick Collison and Alexey Guzey. If you know of other such lists or have other questions you like to think about, I'd love to hear about them!

  1. What contributes to people reading more than others, holding interest in reading constant? How can we get people to read more who have that as a goal?

  2. What contributes to people remembering more than others? How can we help people improve their memories?

  3. If we ever find a way to significantly extend human health-span or reverse aging, how could that post-death society look like? 

  4. Should Facebook prevent the next Declaration of Independence from being circulated?

    • Facebook and other internet platforms have the power to prevent many kinds of speech. Some expressions of speech are unsavory or even illegal in present society (eg: inciting an attempted coup on false claims that an election was rigged). But there are some cases in history where, looking back, most people are happy with the outcome (eg: America gaining independence)

  5. Why in America has the cost of most things gone down over the years, but not housing / education / healthcare?

  6. Why aren't there more experimental cities and how might we incentivize more of them?

  7. How do people make major decisions in their lives? When and why does it come up, and how do they go about making those decisions?

  8. Why don't we experiment with public policy in the same way that tech companies run multivariate tests? How could we get more of this into policymaking?

  9. How can the book as an information medium be improved? Should we replace it with something new?

  10. Are we all fundamentally selfish, even when we do things for others' benefit? Or are there truly settings (intrinsic and/or exogenous) where we do things that are good for others but bad for both our short-term future and long-term future selves?

  11. Why do many Westerners disapprove of China's government? Could it be that their model is the right thing for their society, roughly maximizes their society's welfare given their context, and doesn't endanger other societies?

  12. What determines how we perceive time? Is it the same for everyone?

  13. Why do some people not remember their dreams?

  14. Do people have different levels of self-control or do they just experience temptation differently?

  15. How should we define (human) intelligence? How can we break that concept down and compare intelligence between people in more precise ways? (memory, speed to process new information, curiosity, etc.)

  16. As the cost of solar goes down there's increasing reason to overbuild solar capacity. But there isn't sufficient financial incentive for solar utility companies to overbuild. How could we leverage overcapacity during sunny times to offset this cost?

  17. Is cultural heterogeneity an important input to technological progress? Despite it being a net-positive (IMO), is global connectivity making it harder to form new innovative clusters?

© 2020 by Hadar Dor

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