It is very hard to understand how new ideas for things have made people’s life different; ideas and things we think of as old come from older ideas that used to be new and cool. Phones and computers are good things that have changed the world a lot, and they are all over the place, but we only sort of understand how they change they world. They change things a lot! But that change doesn’t just HAPPEN. All new ideas and things are part of a LOT of OTHER things that join up and make the world we’re used to seeing work like it does. Some of the ways that ideas and things change the world come from the way people think the world works, some come from the way people live and work together in different places, or even the way we think about the new idea and how to make it work.
I try to understand how a new idea or thing, like phones and computers, really WORK in real world situations, how they change the world, from the approach of someone who makes new things and comes up with new ideas. A very bright guy said that asking questions and trying to make new things is like how everyone has a way to make amazing things happen… but that same way also makes very bad things happen. My thought is Right now a lot of new ideas could make amazing things happen very soon. The US Space Team are really trying to make space cars that can go to other stars; People are changing tiny living things so that they can do anything we want. A hundred hundred hundred other new ideas. But right now the world is in trouble, because of how people have acted.
The question, then, is how do we bring these really cool new ideas into the world in a way that makes amazing things happen, to deal with the problems that are coming to a head now around the world, and to make something better for us as people together. What do these new ideas mean for the world, and also, how can I, as somehow who wants to make cool stuff, act to make a better world?
That’s the big question I think about. Inside that question, I study the way we make power and get it to people and things, and the way new ideas and new things change the way we set that stuff up. Everything we do uses power, from moving, seeing or thinking, to lighting things, making food, or flying places, and all the ways we power that stuff is joined up in hard to understand ways. So I try to figure out how new ideas for making more power or using power a lot better change everything else, and how different people will be changed in different ways, and how we can make those changes good for everyone. We have a lot of good ideas, but they don’t work very well with the way we have been making and using power for a long time, and they change things in different ways in places with lots of money like the US, than in places which don’t have a lot of money. We try to come up with new ways to join up things so that really cool new kinds of power can get to people in really good ways, and then use those new power ways in real places around the world.”