Here is a short list of projects I’ve always wanted to do were I to have the sufficient time and means but I secretly know I’ll never get a chance to do them. If anyone else wants to take them on, be my guest:

  • An investigation of what determines success by interviewing a large group of potentially successful people before they become successful. What things genuinely determine success? What things are just post hoc explainations which get engrained as superstition?
  • A “Museum from the future”, with exhibits of contemporary late 20th century life from the perspective of 500 years. What will they pick to be important? What will they misunderstand? How will their differing moral and intellectual standards impose a narrative on our lives?
  • A universal screen scraper framework for games education. This piece of software would be comprised of 3 components: A base layer which provides basic functionality for screen scraping games, a library of game specific adapters which turn what you see on the screen into a set of API calls that would allow you to control that game and then a user generated “AI” that could attempt to play those games. I think this would be an enormous boon for teaching kids how to program and fall in love with programming as it allows them to immediately tackle real world tasks with immediate feedback. For example, a rudimentary blackjack betting program would take all of 5 minutes and a few lines of code to code up but imagine progressing from that to building a Worms player and having it battle online with other Worms AIs.