Jonathan Korn

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Jonathan Korn
Posted over 2 years ago
How do we best balance collaboration and individual efforts to solve our grandest challenges?
I tend to doubt that *total* collaboration is a seriously viable, but I'd argue that its not desirable either. Firstly, there's the issue of "too many cooks", how much of Earth's greatest intellectual resources would be taken up by just communication with a huge number of collaborators who wouldn't be able to contribute as much as the greater and more passionate minds. It is possible that some problems can't be "brute forced" and may only have creative solutions accesible to a single mind. Further, the political problems are daunting. Who chooses what problem to tackle? Could there be problems that are actually unsolvable- if so, who decides when to scrap that project and move on? Like you say, many other projects would be delayed or unrealized. Nor could total collaboration be effectively enforced without some fascist system. But, if total collaboration isn't viable or desirable, I don't mean to say that holds true for more collaboration overall. Indeed, there are many inefficiencies when private companies are doing the same R&D, duplicating another company's old work that is inaccesible to them. But what's the solution to this? Some have proposed a shared database where companies and researchers can submit their "dead end" cases so that no one needs to replicate research that has already been shown to fail to solve the problem. But companies would have incentives to contribute the minimum amount to avoid helping their competitors. It's not an easy problem to resolve for private research. This sort of thing may be easier to implement with universities or national science organizations. Certainly with modern technology we should have more international scientific collaboration! Still, individual effort should also be upheld. Different approaches to the same problem is very valuable and should not be abandoned.