What next, now?

Unfortunately as I found out recently, Quora is not that great a way to challenge and debate over any sufficiently reinforced “mainstream” viewpoint..

Well, no matter how indifferent anybody else may or may not be to the existing reality, there are some things I know for sure: I DON’T want to just keep earning and spending money for the rest of my life.. and I DON’T want to just grow old one day and retire before I die, just like our previous generations have for decades. As J. Krishnamurti put it so brilliantly:

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

It might take 10, 15 or maybe even 20 more years to really change things.. (hell, it took over 50 years of Bucky Fuller’s own lifetime.. and even after that, many of his inventions, his Geodesic domes were only brought down to ruins). But now I am determined to work towards what it is that I know I eventually want, and it’s certainly not personal possessions, or some nameplate formal success in the existing system.

After much deliberation over what should be my next course of action, I have come to this conclusion: To put it succinctly in a Fuller quote:

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

So.. my desired reality of tomorrow is that technology and robots can (and should) displace all humans in all mundane tasks and jobs (or atleast, deliver an immense efficiency speedup per man-hour). Keeping those jobs around just to keep people employed is to undermine our own human potential.. no matter what your opinion may be about our “inherent” ability or capacity, I feel we are capable of much better.. we all might be in for a big surprise at the magnitude of our pent-up thirst for self-study and creative expression.. if only given a chance.

To that end, these days I am considering heavily engaging in robotics/infrastructure development.. open-source, mostly driven and built upon projects like Arduino, Linux, Blender and so on. And this time it is practical robotics, not hobby line followers (which BTW might turn out to be a surprisingly important basic building block for any sophisticated setup 😀 Electronics Club FTW!)

Within a few years, I expect that my own house will become a “living” system that maintains itself.. maybe a technology zoo!

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Quora?

In a nutshell: from the following observations as well as seeing the response to my only Quora answer so far, I feel that Quora is a place for conformism, not critical thinking.

It’s been maybe a week since I have been browsing Quora content.. and I had begun to really like that place.. extensive topics, their voting and credit system and so on.. Highly sensible design decisions, well oriented towards the question asking, reading and answering. Quite enjoyable. [That alone should have set the alarms ringing in my head]

( For months before that, I had been largely ignoring all the Quora posts that keep coming on the Facebook news feed. Even when a question that prodded my curiosity came along, I would ignore their ‘login to view’ banner and read off the answer from the page source.. just to deny them the satisfaction of having coerced another user to register. Quite juvenile, maybe.. but I have redressed that now, finally. )

So yes, Quora as an experience is quite popularly enjoyable. And then I realized.. Enjoyable? Discovering the truth and coming to terms with it can hardly be considered an enjoyable process for the masses. I thought the quest for truth is supposed to be an unexpected, uncomfortable journey, with many more questions and blurry brainstorming, than answers that are confidently upvoted and reinforced over time.

So then, what is Quora doing, if not exposing people to discomforting facts and perspectives? Well, creating less questions and many more answers. Of which the ‘right’ one will get upvoted, is how one expects that system to work. Thus, this system is not really meant to work for open-ended questions that may have no right answer yet.

(My answer so far has neither been voted up or down, nor received any response, favourable or otherwise. Ignored? Well.. so much for critical thinking. Especially since I think my answer does expose the readers to a very different facet of the original question. Isn’t that supposed to unguide us away from our own localized views? )

What I would like to see is the Quora credit system turn around on its head.. a place where you get to ask as many questions as you want for free, and you will earn credits if people upvote your question, because it means that your question provokes something they either don’t know already, and/or consider to be worth critical thinking or discussion. How would people’s answers be credited? Not sure; maybe pay-to-respond. So, only if you have asked enough good original questions, would you be able to respond. This mechanism seems quite harsh at the moment. So again.. not sure about this.