Flying Whales: Case for unprofitable tech?
Bloomberg Quicktake. (Mar 2, 2022). How Airships Could Overcome a Century of Failure. youtube. https://youtu.be/h0hpcpnWAsQ
Taking a break from scary “return to the dark age of warlords” world news today to refresh myself with ideas worthy of mankind’s potential.
The use of helium filled airships to act as flying cranes is cool enough. I was enjoying the Bloomberg Quicktake video on the company doing this, called Flying Whales, even before the moment these amazing words appeared on the screen: “unprofitable tech” — along with the idea it might be worth pursuing it.
I think the big idea is this: might it be time to consider ramping up the push for non-profit enterprises with the potential to do good in the world? Like airships, as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel.
In education, I long found it reasonable to pay-once and give away textbook content rather than make students pay forever to the benefit of a third party, once vital, now parasitic on the system. But there were, and are, barriers to adoption of open textbooks like those offered by, for example, BCCampus.
Have we yet to discover the right model for motivating non-profit work for net social-good? Something beyond religion and government where centralized power tends to incubate corruption. A kind of pro-social capitalism?
Capitalism is a great way to harness ambition and intelligence to solve problems. But the profit motive is its own kind of obstacle. Pure research can be vested in post-secondary institutions and governments can support development for the collective good, but in addition to the corruption risk there’s the tendency to get cumbersome.
Any ideas on how you incentivize people — real people not angels — in a decentralized, competitive pro-social, non-profit progress model?