I do not think it is an understatement to say that there are a great many problems facing the human race. As we have grown in numbers and intelligence we are still learning of all the things that could potentially wipe our species from planet earth permanently. We seem to create or at least uncover problems as fast as we solve them and even especially when we solve them.
So many problems seem impervious to solutions and so few solutions are tried for want of the money, the talent to attempt it that it can feel like an overwhelming tide that will suck you under if you let it.
There are many people who do not know where to find help with a problem facing them personally much less how do they help solve the hardest problems of war, poverty, slavery, oppression, disease, disaster, pollution and others that face us all. Add to this all the people who would love nothing more than contribute their lives toward making the world a better place who have only limited local outlets or resources and maybe not even those.
A problem which came up recently and got a lot of attention was “how do we stop an oil well kilometers under the ocean from leaking millions of liters of oil?” The solution to that problem turned out not to come from the experts, not from the oil industry, not from the government but from a plumber who preferred to remain anonymous. Through a tidal wave of (by at least one estimate which I believe is low) over 300,000 submissions to newspapers, news programs, government offices (federal and local), to BP, to anyone that might listen regardless of whether or not they would or did, this plumber was was able to contact someone who reviewed his solution and was able to pass it on to someone who could implement it. They did and It worked.
The designated experts were at a loss, the designated channels for communication and information were overwhelmed. Imagine how much faster we could solve problems if we were able to employ the talents, abilities, ideas and resources of everyone instead of just a designated few.
Given these kinds of emergencies and so many staggering, intractable issues to deal with on a global and personal level the question becomes, “How do we harness the collective abilities of humanity towards solving the problems that plague us?” I call this problem zero.
I have been interested for some time in the wisdom of crowds, emergent intelligence and how communities of all types are created and maintained online but how the ongoing spill was solved is what inspired me to define problem 0 and come up with a solution. That solution is WeSolver.
WeSolver is a way to allow and encourage anyone to:
submit problems, solutions and discuss them
start projects to implement solutions
contribute their talents, abilities, time, energy and resources toward solving problems
Hopefully people will find new connections and relationships between seemingly different problems and solutions inspiring experimentation and innovative solutions.
There will be many ways to participate in the site itself from creating, reading, promoting, linking, sharing and policing content. WeSolver will be open and transparent to everyone while respecting any individuals wish to remain anonymous should they so choose.
How can we possibly solve the many problems that face us as a species without using every available asset to do so? How can we leave this work in the hands of experts or governments or any other organization to solve on their own? It would be foolish to ignore the potential solutions which come when everyone is invited to participate.
The Future is Now
WeSolver is currently being created in the same spirit as its intended usage. The software itself will be open source so that anyone can contribute to improving and refining it.
Administratively it will be funded by donations rather than ad revenue as well as being staffed by the fewest people required to ensure it continues to exist and evolve over time. This will keep WeSolver focused on its purpose. It will be up to the people to keep it going if they find it worthwhile.