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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Lorraine Ford: on 6/6/14 at 5:16am UTC, wrote I'm sorry Ajay, But it is just fantasy to envisage "7 billion people...

Ajay Bhatla: on 6/5/14 at 12:45pm UTC, wrote Luca, I couldn't agree more. Thank you. Best in the competition. -Ajay

Ajay Bhatla: on 6/5/14 at 12:43pm UTC, wrote Toby, Thank you for reading my essay and your comments. To get to the...

Toby Lightheart: on 6/5/14 at 9:26am UTC, wrote Hi Ajay, I like the optimism of your entry. Trying to encourage more...

Luca Valeri: on 6/4/14 at 5:27am UTC, wrote Dear Ajay, Nice essay. I specially liked your point, that people know how...

Neil Bates: on 5/31/14 at 2:36am UTC, wrote [I thought I had already commented but couldn't find it, sorry for chiming...

James Hoover: on 5/26/14 at 22:26pm UTC, wrote Ajay, Time grows short, so I am revisited those I've read. I find that I...

Jeff Alstott: on 5/26/14 at 21:16pm UTC, wrote Thank you for your entry, Ajay. I appreciated your many points of reference...


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FQXi FORUM
November 25, 2017

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Let Global Public Play with Science by Ajay Bhatla [refresh]
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Author Ajay Bhatla wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 15:50 GMT
Essay Abstract

Humanity should steer the future by making it practical for anyone and everyone to play, tinker and dream with science. The ability to play, dream and tinker with a number of sciences put the power of digital information technology (IT) in a large number of inspired hands and committed minds who could not help but deliver the bewildering changes that define our digital present – a present characterized by the flood of digital innovations that earlier generation would have surely labeled as miraculous. While IT is the clear leader and has sprinted ahead on the shoulders of a few of the vast number of available sciences, it is now imperative to put the power of every other science also in the hands and minds of the global public so that the motivated and inspired can play, dream and tinker also with these sciences to unleash similar high volumes of ingenuity that can lead to exponential progress on humanity’s most vexing and intransigent problems, ranging from water security and energy sufficiency to protection from earthquakes and hurricanes. Access to this ability to play, dream and tinker with science must be global and unrestricted as intransigent challenges know no boundaries and do not come in only one version e.g. drinking water shortages have a markedly different profile in different locations and water shortage is only global in the sense that it occurs in many places around the globe. Simply speaking, the global differences are so many and exist in so many varied combinations that a custom remedy is the right answer for virtually every instance of the same-sounding intransigent challenge. As science is the only true constant because natures rules don’t change, making every science globally accessible in usable form is the prudent and only way to steer the future.

Author Bio

Ajay Bhatla is an amateur part-time scientist who sees in science the keys to better lives of the 3 billion at the bottom of the global economic pyramid. His interest in science, seeded in high school, has been well fed during a career as technologist, engineer, entrepreneur, consultant and executive for policy think-tanks, research & development efforts and multinational endeavors in pursuit of equality, opportunity, profit and service. Ajay is writing a book titled “Global Public Playing with Science”

Download Essay PDF File




James Dunn wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 20:12 GMT
Eco-systems are routinely destroyed by people attempting to help the starving, without regard to population control and the pressures it puts on local eco-systems. Letting humanity "play" is ultimate destructive sustainability.

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 05:17 GMT
James, Thanks for your comment.

Humans have, indeed, changed the way the world works. "Almost 90% of world plant activity, is to be found in eco-systems where humans play a significant role" per the Economist May 26, 2011. Thus, it is correct to say that local eco-systems have been impacted the world over.

Population and not controlling it, however, are not necessarily the only reason.

The reasons are as unique and varied as there are local eco-systems in the world. That's why, in my judgement, no single global solution is practical. And, so I recommend that each person or community come up with its own custom solution using science.




Donald C Barker wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 02:45 GMT
Hi Ajay,

Interesting, but I think we need to make sure we realize that Science is a process, not a discrete object or something you can put in a breadbox. And often it is a process which takes a lot of time (and $). What we need to do is get people, young people, energized about the process by showing them how really interesting the world and universe is, how scientists look and think about things, and once hooked, then they can play, dream and tinker all they want - using the process of science. The IT helps to spread the word wider and faster.

Cheers

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 05:44 GMT
Donald,

I agree with your observation: Science implementation is, indeed, implementation of a process with time and $ implications. However, this is not my key message.

What I see in the IT juggernaut is the pent up latent demand that exists in ordinary people (with skills nowhere close to what a scientist has, uses and needs) to better their own lot. Science will give them the knowledge (definitely the "what" and not necessarily the "why") on how nature actually works. With this knowledge in hand, their motivation and ingenuity will bear fruit quickly. The process aspect of science implementation doesn't really play that much of a role.




Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 15:28 GMT
Dear Mr. Bhatla,

I thought that your essay was very well written, and I do hope that it does well in the competition. I only have one minor quibble with it that I do hope you do not mind me mentioning.

Einstein’s general and special theory of relativity is incorrect. Einstein’s assertion that e=mc² is incorrect. Light is the only stationary substance in the real...

view entire post


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Anonymous replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 18:42 GMT
Dear Mr. Fisher,

Thank you for your kind comment on my essay. I am glad you enjoyed reading it.

I am still trying to digest your comment on Einstein's thinking, but here's where I am coming from:

- A long time ago, I remember concluding that "science" is always a work in progress and will, literally, never end. So, yes, Einstein is only one of the latest minds to reveal a set of ideas on what we know about 'why nature works the way it does.' Eventually, Einstein will be proven wrong completely or his thinking will be tweaked in some way for us to know more about nature.

- With science always being a "work in progress" the effort is, thus, to reduce "ignorance" in humans of some kind about nature. Your model, if I may call it that, of "materials and surfaces" is also worth considering. Some of the questions I am struggling with on your model are: Isn't light a form of energy? Doesn't all mass have a surface? What if light ends up having a surface? How do your comments accept the existence of the Higgs-Boson (god's particle), Was the Big Bang only about light?... ... and, most importantly, what does your model mean for humanity's future?

I look forward to reading your essay and, hopefully, it will further inform me about your thinking. Thank you for attracting my attention.

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 18:46 GMT
The above anonymous post is from me.

I have seen anonymous posts on other essays. Anyone know why this happens?

Thanks.




Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 10:03 GMT
Dear Ajay,

I read your essay with great interest. I fully agree with you that we need new paradigms of science as a social phenomenon and a new paradigm in the philosophical foundations of science. Need "open science" for the benefit of a more sustainable future of Humanity. Information for this era opens new promising prospects. Let's hope and work together!

I wish you good luck!

All the Best,

Vladimir

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 03:35 GMT
Vladimir,

Thank you.

The very best to you!

-Ajay




Mohammed M. Khalil wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 15:09 GMT
Hi Ajay,

Great essay! I agree with you; science is our guide to a better future. But for that to happen, all people should believe in science, and what better way to get the public engaged with science than through play? In your essay, you provided some interesting ideas to achieve that goal.

In my essay Improving Science for a Better Future , I discussed the importance of raising the public understanding of science. I would be glad to receive your opinion.

Best regards,

Mohammed

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Anonymous replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 15:36 GMT
Mohammed,

Thanks for your reply.

In my interactions with fellow scientists and ordinary people, the task to convince anyone else to "believe in science" or "believe in anything" boils down to just one fact: What does that person's life experience tells him/her vs. what science tells him/her? Life experience will always win. When a life experience says something quite different from what science says, most people do not believe science. Also, it is not that scientists believe all science, scientists believe only that science that has believable scientists behind it. When there is no life experience at all, people can and do believe whatever they like.

I chose 'play' and 'tinkering' because everyone enjoys both and finds time in their busy schedule for both play and tinkering. Once time is being spent in play to experience something, then that something gathers belief. That's how I plan to get large numbers of people solving some very difficult problems!

- Ajay

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 15:39 GMT
The anonymous comment is from me. I guess, I got logged out.

- Ajay




Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 00:21 GMT
Hi Ajay,

I really enjoyed your essay. What a great idea to give everyone the opportunity to play with science.I have not come across the Lego for building robots but I'm sure my kids would have loved it.I expect it is expensive though. Have you come across this marvelous TED talk which shows rural indian children teaching themselves, English and science using a computer in a wall. It demonstrates how little is needed to make huge differences in people's lives.Build a school in the cloud

I hope you get lots of interested readers, Good luck, Georgina

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 15:47 GMT
Georgina,

Thanks for your comment and the Ted link on the 'school in the cloud'

It is very helpful to my perspective.

- Ajay




Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on May. 4, 2014 @ 16:00 GMT
Dear Ajay

Thanks for your thoughtful questions on my thread, I answered you there, now I am going to read your contribution and react later on.

best regards

Wilhelmus

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Wilhelmus de Wilde replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 16:02 GMT
I see that I can cut and paste here so I give you the comment here

Imagine every individual surrounded by a sphere where all signals from everywhere are coming in and hit the surface simultaneously. In our causal existence where each location of an individual has a different location on the grid, so each sphere is different from the other. This means that each causal consciousness is receiving different data for his senses, so is from the beginning on creating what we call "individuality" being different from the other...

The original source of any (causal)consciousness is its non causal part in Total Simultaneity. So perhaps there we are ALL "ONE" (GOD?).

The causal part of this ALL Consciousness is imprisoned in what we are calling TIME, where different eternal now moments are lined up to "memory". This implicates "differences" that can be seen as good or bad, just because of the fact that they are different. This duality in our causal life with birth and death is so a result of the causal consciousness being trapped in time.

Wilhelmus

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 15:54 GMT
Wilhelmus,

Your "individuality" point makes perfect sense to me. It is both a barrier and a door to steering the future!

- Ajay




James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 05:11 GMT
Ajay,

I salute your optimism. Perhaps America's culture, unless you are among the top 1%, doesn't lend one such optimism. We see a corporate force with control issues and greed I did not see in my childhood. Many problems you correctly identify as local and science with universal laws certainly defies culture in solution but not necessarily in the cooperative effort needed.

The power of the people of course is a force that needs to be marshalled and in large numbers and a determined effort, it cannot be deterred. On the other side of the coin are those dependent on tyrannical forces for their livelihood.

Steering our future, we can all see, is a daunting task.

Jim

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 16:02 GMT
James,

Thanks for your comment.

Agreed that steering the future is "a daunting task".

My optimism comes from the forces that the IT juggernaut has released in the past two decades. It has empowered unknown people to deliver some amazing things - amazing, although some question whether for good or bad.

How can we release more of this force is the question I have struggled with for a decade. Thus, my position on science.

Thanks,

- Ajay



James Lee Hoover replied on May. 26, 2014 @ 22:26 GMT
Ajay,

Time grows short, so I am revisited those I've read. I find that I rated yours on 5/13. Hope you enjoyed mine.

Jim

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Member Rick Searle wrote on May. 8, 2014 @ 21:58 GMT
Hi Ajay,

I've pasted these reflection on you essay from the comments section of my own:

I liked your essay a lot. I am a big supporter of citizen science. I don't think you mentioned crowd sourcing efforts such as FOLDING AT HOME or even better, in that they better involve individuals crowd sourcing efforts that have individuals scan through astronomical data and the like. I feel that given mobile technology the horizon of citizen science is endless > everything from monitoring and pooling data on local ecosystems to allowing people in the developing world to tap into the scientific knowledge of more technologically developed countries. Mobile could even be used to bring highly localized knowledge in the developing world e.g. medicinal plants, new species, ecosystem health with scientist all over the world.

All the best on your noble effort to bring science to the global public.

Rick Searle

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 11, 2014 @ 05:09 GMT
Rick,

Thank you for being a big supporter of science in the hands of consumers.

I did not mention crowd sourcing as its objective is to put a challenge to a crowd and choose a solution from the many the crowd puts forward.

My approach is very different from crowd sourcing. I believe that no sourcing is required for the goal is not for a crowd to help me with my challenge, but the goal is to get each citizen able to solve their own individual challenge.

I concur on your assessment that mobile technology is too important to ignore and its single biggest benefit will be to get knowledge to, literally, everyone to choose and use.

I'll post this comment on your essay also.

- Ajay




Michael Allan wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 07:27 GMT
Hi Ajay, You've good intentions, but I fear you won't convince people to change. At first I thought you were trying to convince scientists. You spoke of the "select few" who alone understand nature (p.4), who "need to make public" their secrets (p. 6) and give others "access to knowledge hidden in the closet called science" (p. 7). But I think that's just your manner of speaking; you know that science (like the humanities and other scholarship) is already public, already part of the public sphere and therefore accessible to any educated person who chooses to participate. Leaving aside the key of education (you don't focus on that), you must be trying to convince people to choose to spend more of their time participating in science. Is that right?

I fear you won't succeed at that. Most folks are already doing what interests them and usually it's not close to science. - Mike

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Author Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 07:42 GMT
Mike,

I guess I have not been clear enough in my essay.

I am not trying to change anything other than get scientists and others to communicate what they know in science in ways that ordinary humans can access the knowledge and play, tinker and dream with the knowledge. This is what IT did and see what all dedicated people came up with: some of which we admire, some of which we hate and some we are indifferent to.

Most folks need more resources and I want the knowledge we hold in the science closet to be available to them for their using.

- Ajay



Michael Allan replied on May. 13, 2014 @ 06:56 GMT
Thanks Ajay, I understand. We should convince the would-be providers (scientists and others) to make science-play generally available instead of just science-work. But (to explain my point) we'd also have to convince the players to participate. Take me for instance. My interest in nature is above average; I've a degree in science, I occaisonally read books about nature, follow the wanderings of the Mars rover, and so forth. Nevertheless I'm not attracted to the hands-on investigation of how nature works (conducting experiments and interpreting results), which is science. My interests lie elsewhere. And I think the same is true for most people. They're much more interested in other activities (drawn from a wide variety of possibilities) than in doing science. So the science players (like the workers) would always be relatively few in number, nowhere near the general public. They wouldn't be like internet users, for example. The internet is a general tool for a common activity, but science is not; science is a specialized tool for an uncommon activity. You hope to make it more common - and undoubtedly there's some scope for that, I don't mean to suggest there's none - but I think it's relatively small. It'll never be "for anyone and everyone". This is my point. - Mike

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Michael Allan replied on May. 21, 2014 @ 18:51 GMT
PS - Thanks again for your answers, Ajay, here and below. I'll be rating your essay (together with all the others on my review list) some time between now and May 30. Very best, - Mike

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 05:03 GMT
I enjoyed your essay Ajay,

I daresay that what you are calling for is something that must be done. But I would also have to say that you only begin to articulate how to share the wealth of Science with a broader public. I envision a whole lot of Science centers and Museums where adults can play and experiment, in a safe environment, as a possible step in the direction you seek. IT can carry us only so far, as there needs to be a tangible connection as well. I have a lot more to say, because I think your reasoning is sound but incomplete.

You could have been much more explicit about how the internet has greatly increased the availability of information that could previously only be found in prestigious College libraries, to make it available to anyone. You could also have talked a little more about how playing can foster innovation, but the basic idea of your essay is sound. I would not limit the purview of your premise to the young, however. I think there are a lot of older people who have the Science bug, and would love to play with Science.

The ideas in this essay are definitely a step in the right direction, so I have elevated your ranking somewhat.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 22:47 GMT
Jonathan,

Thank you for your kind comments and ranking me up, but someone else seems to have ramped me down. I guess that's the way it goes. I do wonder what the rankings would be if we could not see the composite value.

You are quite right in that I could have talked at length about the Internet and made the case more completely. Points well made and taken with thanks. Not an excuse, but a friend told me about FQXi on Wednesday and I wrote the essay overnight on Thursday to get it in on Friday.

Ajay




Member Daniel Dewey wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 16:08 GMT
Hi Ajay,

It does seem that giving as many people as possible the ability to improve their lives through exploration of science and engineering would have many good effects.

I'd be interested to hear how you'd want to trade these benefits off against the potential harms, though. For example, widespread knowledge of contagious diseases and genetic engineering could be quite dangerous; it would only take one mistake by a curious experimenter to kill many people. Do you have ideas about how to address this kind of risk? How could we calculate whether or not to distribute certain types of knowledge?

Because of the risks of future technologies, I tend to think that there may be types of scientific or engineering knowledge that should not be spread freely, at least until we have figured out how to protect against their harms. What do you think?

Best,

Daniel

Crucial Phenomena

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 23:28 GMT
Daniel,

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Similarly, which is more important: reward or risk?

We may have a philosophical difference, but I'm sure you can postulate so many risks that few actions will ever get off the ground. Isn't your question the current issue for decision makers to get past and get moving on global warming?

If prior justification was required, could Google Search ever become real?

The same answer applies to any research arena or researcher, including you and I, and any of your work or mine.

I look forward to reading your essay later this week.

- Ajay




Tommy Anderberg wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 20:44 GMT
Thanks for the heads up. Another essay which I seem to have missed completely... :/

A doubt crept up as I was reading yours: do you really mean science, or do you mean technology?

Your leading example, Information Technology, suggests it's the latter. The IT explosion (which I would claim started in earnest in the late 70s, making it closer to 40 now) was about a technology which...

view entire post


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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 23:18 GMT
Tommy,

Thank you for your question on science and technology.

Do let me know how the following sits with you:

Science is essentially the knowledge of consequences i.e. Science answers the question: What is the cause of this result? To answer this question, a description of the environment, within which the consequence occurs, is necessary because the same result can be reached with different cause-environment combinations.

Technology, on the other hand, is our attempt at controlling the environment so that a particular action (cause) leads only to one or a very few restricted list of results. This is what IT did very well.

So, two points for you to consider:

1. As circumstances are different all over the world for the same situation (water shortages do not occur with the same local circumstances in place) it is the local person who needs to make real the technology applicable locally.

2. For the local person to make real the specific technology needed locally, all the science must be available to him/her to choose from and adapt.

Looking forward to your reaction.

Ajay



Tommy Anderberg replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 19:59 GMT
I like the definition of science handily provided by Wikipedia: "a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe". Going by this (consensus, I think) definition, to do science is to discover and organize knowledge.

My impression is that you are more interested in "the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function" (technology).

This is not just nitpicking (I hope), because making the latter widely available, especially in the cheap, easy and fun way needed to achieve broad uptake, is a lot easier than the former. Technology can be standardized and packaged. You can have a set of mass-produced (hence cheap) tools and well-defined (hence teachable) procedures to perform commonly occurring tasks, and let everybody combine them as they see fit to achieve their own, more complicated goals. If you hit the right compromise between granularity and abstraction, you get something like IT. I can pick a bunch of components from a catalogue and assemble a PC without having to brush up on electronics (or trying to design my own microprocessor), or use the high level abstractions of a computer language and supporting libraries to create a program to perform a calculation without having to worry about every detail of the implementation. In both cases, I am using standardized building blocks which hide a lot of the complexity from me, making the process easy and even fun.

To do science is pretty much the opposite. It's about digging deeper, past the convenient layers of abstraction, and looking for loose threads to follow even deeper down the rabbit hole. If you already know what you're going to find, you're probably not doing science. I offer as a corollary that if you're trying to solve a pressing practical problem, you probably don't want to be doing science. What you want is access to a set of cheap, standardized building blocks which can be combined to achieve the desired result.

So that's what needed: a set of convenient building blocks, versatile enough to produce virtually unlimited combinations, yet simple enough to be usable by many people.

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Michael Allan replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 11:21 GMT
I second Tommy. The scope for participation in technology is greater than in science (I still maintain it's not "for anyone and everyone", but more so than science). And there's more practical utility in terms of direct benefit from the product, which I think is what Ajay is driving at. - Mike

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Christine Cordula Dantas wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 19:13 GMT
Dear Ajay,

I read your essay and I found it interesting and well-written, and it is quite good-intended.

I think that what you envision would already be the outcome of a much more advanced civilization, in which every single individual would enjoy a high educational level to the point of being competent in science at some level, or at the level of his/her choice, being completely free to pursue his/her own research according to necessity or just fun, if he/she desires at all, with resources readily available for him/her for an open practice.

I am not sure of what it necessary for we as a species to evolve to that point, although you have proposed some ideas. Something to think about. I think the process is somewhat more involved, though.

Very good essay, which deserves a better rating (I have rated it, for your information).

Good luck,

Christine

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 17:35 GMT
Christine,

I totally agree that the process is more involved.

But the idea, I believe, we both share is not too difficult for open minds to grasp: Get more minds involved in ways that we let them freely contribute. The future is mostly what we can imagine, and I being an eternal optimist, hope and see a wonderful future for every human and living thing.

Good luck to you too!

-- Ajay




Israel Perez wrote on May. 13, 2014 @ 23:45 GMT
Dear Ajay

Just to let you know that I just read your essay. It is well-written and organized. Although, I think that perhaps you need to be more specific in your objective. It is not clear how you pretend to achieve your goal of letting people play with science. Do you have a program in mind? I also have some doubts regarding some parts of your essay. I would be glad if you could make some comments.

You say: During the recent four decade period, however, after the sciences underpinning digital information technology (IT) were placed in the hands of non-scientists,

Who are you referring to? Who are those non-scientists you claim made exponential progress?

You also say: Scientists must individually put their science within reach of the global public in a form novices can use as they see fit.

I agree that science is another human activity like any other, but, in my view, science must be done by experts and science should be in the hands of scientists only, because they are the experts. The knowledge science generates is shared for free from many institutions. This is how the public get access to science. However, one must be aware that not all knowledge can be shared. One should be careful with knowledge because in the wrong hands it may cause damage. For instance, nuclear physics.

Those who would like to generate knowledge are welcomed to do research following the protocols and guidelines of science. Those who wish to know, scientific knowledge is for free in many institutions and websites. The public nowadays have open access to knowledge.

I wish you good luck in the contest!

Best Regards

Israel

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 14, 2014 @ 09:51 GMT
Ajay,

Thanks for your comments and questions on mine. I responded there as below. From your abstract I'll enjoy reading yours.

.

"Message 1) is that understanding must be improved to progress. Message 2) is that a new 'non Earth-centric' way to think is needed to achieve that progress, and it's possible now. I tried to show 2 in a more subliminal way, showing the hidden importance of there being "no UP in space" and the power of that next 'Copernican' step away from how we use our on-board quantum computers.

The demonstration of that is the entirely classical reproduction of 'QM correlations', circumventing Bell's theorem. It uses 'joined-up-physics' by applying various important elements (i.e. electron 'spin flip') to expose a coherent geometrical solution to the EPR paradox. No spookyness or FTL nonsense required.

It's a fundamental breakthrough because the same mechanism also applies to SR (light speed changes to local c on arrival and interaction not before!) which allows complete harmonious unification of SR and QM, in 'absolute' time, but with Doppler shiftable 'signals' once emitted (see my prev essays from '2020 Vision in 2011). For that reason it'll probably never be countenanced by any who can't think beyond current doctrine. Unfortunately that seems to be very few so far. I think you caught a first glimpse, far clearer than the established language? A 2nd read often seems necessary."

.

Peter

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 14, 2014 @ 10:49 GMT
Ajay,

Great essay. Shocking stuff to 'professional scientists' but a nice attempt at making the point that nature and our planet are the domains of all mankind. I suspect almost all will scream with fear and not understand, as Israel's comment above, but they may invoke the public playing with nuclear weapons so only succeed in entirely missing the point. All those without PhD's are seen as...

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 17:13 GMT
Peter,

I agree that I should say it as clearly as possible that "all science is provisional." Thanks for the 100% backing.

The very best in the competition.

-- Ajay




Arthur R. Woods wrote on May. 14, 2014 @ 12:41 GMT
Dear Ajay

I enjoyed your essay and especially its optimistic message about having science becoming more accessible to the general public as a strategy for steering the future.

As other readers have pointed out, the Internet and the general availability of information technologies have surely furthered - and will continue to further - your goal in this endeavor.

From my experience as an artist working with art-in-space projects, in order to be taken seriously by the space agency administrators, engineers and scientists, I soon realized it was necessary to learn the "languages" of these disciplines while sharing the my artistic "language" with them. Thus, I had to become competent in various areas of space technology including science and engineering in order to realize my space art projects. Once a credible goal was articulated and understanding from both sides was established, mutual synergy occurred and things happened.

Today, there are a number of artists-in-labs projects located around the world that are enabling and encouraging this kind of multi-disciplinary interchange.

See: Swiss Artists in Labs

As mentioned in my essay, humanity itself must be considered as its most valuable resource. Thus, the more information that becomes accessible, the more significant will be the creative output.

Good luck and best regards

Arthur

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 16:56 GMT
Arthur,

The internet also made me aware of the volume of positive outcomes possible with more sharing without requiring any kind of pre-qualification of recipients.

Your point on "languages" is 100% correct. The internet surfaced one solution for communication issues: If enough individuals have access to the same knowledge then a few self-selecting people will figure out (through play and tinkering) how to use the knowledge.

The "ail" reference you shared is very significant to my work. Thank you.

The very best.

-- Ajay




Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 21:30 GMT
Dear Ajay,

Thanks for your great comments on my thread. I will surely read your essay and respond. There is power-cut in my location and will do that later.

Thanks once again.

Regards

Gbenga

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 01:47 GMT
Thanks for this inspiring essay, Ajay! Indeed, to parody a famous American gun-lobbying organization, "If science is outlawed, only scientists will have science."

I agree 100% that the world would be exponentially enriched if all were citizen scientists. There is one caution; you say:

"Scientists don't really need to make public why a result-cause relationship exists and why, in certain circumstances, it doesn't."

The one circumstance to which cause-effect cannot in principle be determined is the case of a positive, self-reinforcing feedback loop. I think this is where many fear the "mad scientist" effect of an out of control catastrophe -- citizen science is a guarantee, however, that sane scientists will far outnumber mad scientists.

Thanks for commenting in my forum. I'll reply when I can.

Best,

Tom

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 16:40 GMT
Tom,

The "mad scientist" effect will always be there, unfortunately.

Thank you for the 100% endorsement.

-- Ajay




Jens C. Niemeyer wrote on May. 18, 2014 @ 12:07 GMT
Ajay,

I finally got to read your essay, and now I am even more convinced of what I replied to your comments to my article: we share many of our goals (e.g., maximizing every individual's access to scientific information, including the means to educate themselves to the point where they can properly understand it), but we start with slightly different motivations. Furthermore, as a "professional scientist" I take your encouragement to communicate our science (and the thrill to play with it) to the public very seriously. I know it's important, but sometimes it helps to be reminded. Good luck!

Jens

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 16:31 GMT
Jens,

Glad to know we have the same goal with the individual in mind.

Glad you take my essay as encouragement! That's exactly why I wrote it.

Would appreciate any comments on that what restricts your sharing. Thank you.

The very best of luck to you too.

-- Ajay




Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on May. 18, 2014 @ 22:51 GMT
Dear Ajay,

I enjoyed your fascinating essay, with its interesting anecdotes to support your themes. You make an excellent point about the computer revolution "putting science in the hands of the public." I do agree with you that 'future' is about making life better at the individual level with "better" defined by the individual. Maximum freedom!

I also liked your points about gravity being known for 200,000 years or so before Newton, beginning with babies first steps.

I have one son who has largely avoided computers for a long time but is now hooked on both iPads and 3-D printers. I think that supports your points.

My best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 16:20 GMT
Edwin,

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad to learn that we are on the same page.

Your son's experience with the iPad and 3D printing is exactly what I am talking about. He now has the sciences (a bit constrained, I know) that are the underpinning of these two devices in his hands. As he plays with them, he will, I believe, use them as arrows in his quiver to 'fix' what he finds unsatisfactory or worth doing. I'm also sure he will find a way to 'break' the constraints and use the sciences to accomplish with these devices a few things, nobody anticipates him doing - that's the real beauty of the App World and that's the real beauty of putting sciences in the hands of the global public. Thank you for sharing your son's story.

-- Ajay




Member Marc Séguin wrote on May. 21, 2014 @ 07:07 GMT
Ajay,

I have responded to your comments on my essay in my forum. As I said there, I think our approaches are quite complementary!

I have now rated your essay. Good luck in the contest!

Marc

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Member Tejinder Pal Singh wrote on May. 21, 2014 @ 12:01 GMT
Dear Ajay,

Yours is a beautifully written essay, whose message I would like to interpret, at least partly, as a global inculcation of a scientific of a scientific temper, in all that we do. I feel this should be accompanied by a global inculcation of a `moral temper’ and a compassion based value system, which firmly educates us as to what is a benign way to interact with other human beings.

Regards,

Tejinder

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 22, 2014 @ 04:30 GMT
Tejinder,

You make a very good point. I agree that your emphasis and mine together make a very strong story. I'll give it some thought as to how to make the combination happen - do you have any ideas?

How can you and I communicate outside this forum and especially after May 30, when I presume these communications will end?

-- Ajay




Robert de Neufville wrote on May. 22, 2014 @ 02:18 GMT
I completely agree we need to encourage everyone to experiment with science, Ajay. Things like 3D printers promise to be wonderful tools for this. I also think that as people move out poverty around the world they will have more time and resources to devote to exploring and innovating. I am not sure that encouraging play will by itself have the transformative effect you hope, but I certainly agree that it's a good idea.

Good luck in the contest!

Best,

Robert

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on May. 22, 2014 @ 04:42 GMT
Robert,

I think you and I may be saying the very same thing, except you say "experiment" when I say "play". In my mind, experiment is a more technical word, a word not used in normal talking by the general public - the public's preferred word is 'play'.

The best of luck to you in the contest!

-- Ajay




Brent Pfister wrote on May. 22, 2014 @ 21:56 GMT
Ajay, very enjoyable essay to read. I like "Steering, the act that makes real a desired outcome, is the many millions of separate, individually initiated actions that move the ship of humanity to a better place."

I like the way your essay focuses on people in less developed regions using science to improve their lives. After a natural disaster, this is potentially anywhere, when there is no one to call for help. I will add a score to your essay soon. Thank you for writing your essay!

Brent

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on May. 23, 2014 @ 10:29 GMT
Many thanks for your visit to my essay , Author Ajay Bhatla

Your suggestions are very practical, I liked the title, "Let Global Public Play with Science" and so glad to see you recognize the similarities with me.

10 points for "Foundational Change in Thinking" - Hải.CaoHoàng

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KoGuan Leo wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 13:15 GMT
Ajay,

Excellent essay!

I agree with your conclusion that "Humanity can succeed at this by steering the global public to play, dream and tinker with science." On your comment on "collective will" here means that we collectively as individuals are working together to achieve Xuan Yuan's Da Tong. For example, Ajay is one person but he is made of about 75 trillions of cells that are working collectively as one Ajay.

Thanks for your kind comment.

Best,

Leo KoGuan

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on May. 25, 2014 @ 12:35 GMT
Hi Ajay,

I think you are right that everybody should be concerned with science, play with it, understand it, put it at work for mankind. I enjoyed very much reading your well written and well thought essay, and I liked the ending paragraph:

"Science in the hands of hoards of unknowns inspired for their own personal reasons to make a difference in their world and motivated to realize the difference urgently, is the tsunami humanity direly needs to unleash. Humanity can succeed at this by steering the global public to play, dream and tinker with science."

Best regards,

Cristi

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 26, 2014 @ 12:03 GMT
Dear Ajay,

I have read your essay. I found it interesting, scientific and publishable in all ramifications. Your quote of insanity from Albert Einstein words was really absorbing.

I have actually rated you higher to maintain your leadership. I am wishing you a great deal of reward for your effort, energy and time. I was about saying "Make your book available for interested members of the forum" when I saw some excerpt from the book.

I am not sure you rated mine.

Regards

Gbenga

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Jeff Alstott wrote on May. 26, 2014 @ 21:16 GMT
Thank you for your entry, Ajay. I appreciated your many points of reference from cultures all around the world and history!

How do you envision governments or other organizations could encourage scientists to make their work more accessible/play-with-able to more people? Or would there be more of a 'pull' strategy, where the public is more encouraged to do this playing? What are more ways that we can make this happen?

Thanks!

Jeff

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Neil Bates wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 02:36 GMT
[I thought I had already commented but couldn't find it, sorry for chiming in so late):

Ajay, I agree with you and several other writers (for example, Philip Gibbs) that more amateur and "public" input is needed to generate useful ideas to help us survive. There is another reason to crowd-source ideas: the public is more likely to support measures they helped to form. Also, at the other, individualist end of the scale, seeking out talented amateurs ensures that bright people's concepts are not rejected for reasons of academic caste. (One is reminded of how societies advance when women are allowed to fully participate along with men.) Best wishes for such efforts to expand and bring wider participation.

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Luca Valeri wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 05:27 GMT
Dear Ajay,

Nice essay. I specially liked your point, that people know how to use gravity without knowing Newtons law.

Good point to make knowledge globally available to be used locally.

How these local economies will cooperate together is left open. Hopefully they will steer humanity to a better future.

Regards

Luca

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 12:45 GMT
Luca,

I couldn't agree more. Thank you.

Best in the competition.

-Ajay




Toby Asher Lightheart wrote on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 09:26 GMT
Hi Ajay,

I like the optimism of your entry. Trying to encourage more people to be educated certainly is a worthy goal, and one I am interested in being involved with myself.

Like others, I find myself wondering: how do you propose to get more people to "play with science"? Do you really think that just making the information accessible and available is enough?

Many people in developed countries have access, but no interest; many people in developing countries have interest, but no access. Many people graduating from universities with science degrees don't end up working in science for interest or financial reasons. I think there may be some economic challenges to overcome before it is financially possible for the general public to study and play with science.

Regards,

Toby

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Author Ajay Bhatla replied on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 12:43 GMT
Toby,

Thank you for reading my essay and your comments.

To get to the point where more and more people can play with science, we can follow two tracks, at least:

- have what science knows, available to be found very easily, and

- have people understand that the knowledge in science is knowledge on the natural world around them.

Both if the above address a big issue with science: the intimidation issue holding science use back : science is something I, an ordinary person, cannot hope to understand or use. That's the idea behind my discourse on gravity.,

On interest: the task is to make it easy for the driven, the motivated, the optimistic to not be held back.

Best on your essay,

- Ajay




Lorraine Ford wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 05:16 GMT
I'm sorry Ajay,

But it is just fantasy to envisage "7 billion people passionately driven and playing with science", and just fantasy to conjecture "What might these billions make true when they have access to knowledge hidden in the closet called science".

Most people would run a mile rather than have anything to do with detailed scientific knowledge - they just don't have that type of temperament. Also most people need to spend a great deal of their time earning enough money to live, and the rest of the time they need to spend with their family. Not many people have enough time, money, energy, interest or ability to tinker with science and work on solving "humanity's most vexing and intransigent problems". Those that ARE interested, and have the time, money, energy, and ability are probably doing it already. And let's face it: many trained scientists can't even get work.

You say "Imagine what remedies can result from 7 billion people passionately driven and playing with science!" But is it really OK for the "Global Public" to "play" with nuclear materials, potentially poisonous substances, genetic engineering and nanotechnology? I don't think so. Science is NOT "just life by another name".

Lorraine

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