It’s a physics class and I think it’s appropriate to throw physics out the window. You are not on Earth, in a classroom, but floating in space. Your brain turns out to be an enhanced quantum brain that can be in multiple places and time horizons at the same time. You are not constraint by anything and the universe is your playground. Not only the observable universe (15.8 billion lightyears across) but the entire unlimited universe. You can reach out anywhere in the universe and grab whatever you need — technology, beings, galaxies. Nothing is out of your reach.
In that setting, I am asking you to pick a problem or set of problems to solve. They can be problems that need to be solved on and for Earth or anywhere in this unlimited Universe.
You might say to yourself, where can I start? There are too many problems to solve. I don’t know which ones are more important than others. What if I told you that criticality is not important? That this is not an exercise on saving the world, but one on creative problem solving and non-linear thinking. What if I told you that the best place to start is with your curiosities. Not with your passion. Passion implies ONE thing. It implies your full commitment to it and no wavering from it.
Curiosity, on the other hand, is not set in stone. You can be curious of multiple things at the same time and you can change what you are curious about over time. Curiosity also allows you to combine things that are not necessarily related or that would “fit” into the single problem. You can combine funny cat videos with quantum computing and hyperdrives for no other reason than to see how many views you get on your video about a cat writing its own AI to improve the hyperdrive of a ship designed to go across multiverses in multiple dimensions. I can’t predict the number of views and shares and tweets. But I can tell you one thing is for sure: Schrodinger’s cat will be very envious.
Say you want to solve a problem here on Earth. And you learned that people in certain villages in Africa have cell phones but don’t have to electricity to charge their phones — which they depend on it for work, communication with loved ones, and for getting paid for their work using mobile payments. Larger villages have charging station kiosks, where, for a small fee you can charge your devices. The problem is that transportation is hard to find. Most people don’t own a car. Some villages have one motor bike and some might have one or more bikes. But most people who want to charge their devices, usually plan on walking.
The problem you want to solve allowing local villagers to charge their phones. In that case, what problem are you really going to solve? A electric power problem? A transportation problem? A societal problem? A community organization problem? A cultural problem?
Will you be building some power source that generates electricity inexpensively and with the things the villagers have access to? How about coating not only the roofs of the houses but the side of the houses with the flexible solar panels? Then, what solution do you have for energy storage, given that industrial size batteries (and even home size) are very expensive?
Will you consider the transportation problem and establish a motorbike/bike sharing service to use the existing assets? They do have peer-to-peer banking system, so creating a small app will be very easy. And given that the village owns the bike, who maintains it and what do you do with the proceeds? Do you create some sharing program — similar to the ones used in Alaska and Finland to share tax revenues from oil? Or, put it on a fund to purchase infrastructure assets that would benefit the entire village?
Or, will you consider some form of self organization that would pair two people to go to the nearest charging station with everybody’s devices?
Or, maybe your prefer to look for new places for humanity to call home. You can search for planets that have similar characteristics to Earth, or for some that can be terraformed over time. Or, you can think about alternatives to modifying the environment: modifying humans. What kind of genetic engineering can be developed to ensure that the new race will live safely on the new planet and have not lost its humanity? In that case, what are the human traits you do not want to modify? And which ones you are willing to sacrifice? The new species will most likely won’t look like a human. How do you achieve these dramatic changes ethically and morally given the big picture goal: multiplanetary species?