One more day left to enter your save-the-world idea

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Google’s 10 to the 100th ‘save-the-world’ idea contest deadline is tomorrow (October 20 2008). I previously posted about this contest celebrating Google’s 10th anniversary. The project is asking for anybody with an idea that might help the world to submit their entry. There is no money to be won by the individual entering the contest, instead all the money (10 million) goes to funding the chosen projects (up to 5). So this contest is all about karma, all about trying to help the world. I highly encourage anybody that has an idea (not much time for brainstorming at this time) to enter the contest.

From the brain health perspective we just need to look at studies examining altruism and the brain’s reward system. Human’s brain and society appears to have co-evolved to make altruistic actions rewarding (Harbaugh et. al., 2007). So reward yourself by giving (be it an idea, a kind act, or money donation).

I managed to put my entry in this evening (October 19th). I do not know if it is a good enough idea, or if it has any chance of being chosen, but I thought I had to try. My idea centers on improving the efficiency of health science research. We will see what happens.

At the minimum we can all hope that something good comes out of the Google’s 10 to the 100th project and the world ends up being a little bit better place.

3 comments for “One more day left to enter your save-the-world idea

  1. October 20, 2008 at 1:32 am

    I’m skeptical about this program. In my experience, the people who have good ideas and the people with the training, will, and resources to execute are usually the same people.

    “Solve pollution” is like “get smart.” Good idea, but how do you do it?

  2. October 20, 2008 at 1:36 am

    On topic: I would like to see more rigor enforced in the media. It’s a well known cognitive hack that people first believe a suggestion, and then think to reject it. The more distracted one is, the more likely one is to believe something false is true (even including disclaimers).

    Yet, today I had the misfortune of watching Fox News while visiting the hospital. No further elaboration necessary.

    See Daniel Gilbert studies at U of Texas

  3. Ward
    October 20, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Andrew,
    thanks for the comments. I can understand your skepticism toward the Google project. In my case I knew I didn’t have the time or resources to get done the project I had come up with – so I thought well maybe (had nothing to lose) with the right people and a little money it could get implemented and improve the world a bit.

    Good point about the hack regarding people first believe a suggestion (especially if coming from an authority) then use some cognitive resources to evaluate it. The media (and the people pushing stories on it) can make most Americans believe something if they want to (plenty of examples). I will check out the Daniel Gilbert study.

    thanks again