I'm sorry if this is an unsatisfying answer, but if you mean convincingly pitched, I couldn't answer a question like that without disclosing the long-term plans of startups that would prefer to keep them secret.
If you mean unconvincingly pitched, it would probably be the applications we get from people who've discovered new power sources that violate the laws of physics.
Can you say where the scariest and most ambitious convincing pitch was on the following scale?
1) We're going to build the next Facebook!
2) We're going to found the next Apple!
3) Our product will create sweeping political change! This will produce a major economic revolution in at least one country! (Seasteading would be change on this level if it worked; creating a new country successfully is around the same level of change as this.)
4) Our product is the next nuclear weapon. You wouldn't want that in the wrong hands, would you?
5) This is going to be the equivalent of the invention of electricity if it works out.
6) We're going to make an IQ-enhancing drug and produce basic change in the human condition.
7) We're going to build serious Drexler-class molecular nanotechnology.
8) We're going to upload a human brain into a computer.
9) We're going to build a recursively self-improving Artificial Intelligence.
10) We think we've figured out how to hack into the computer our universe is running on.
« According to WHO, in 2007, nearly 2 billion individuals had insufficient iodine intake, a third being of school age. Iodine deficiency can have serious consequences, causing abnormal neuronal development, mental retardation, congenital abnormalities, spontaneous abortion and miscarriage, congenital hypothyroidism, and infertility. Later in life, intellectual impairment reduces employment prospects and productivity. »
Go after "Railroad Baron Money." That is to say, to invest in a fundamentally new kind of very useful infrastructure, like a subset network of computers where DRM actually works. If not absolutely, then well enough in practice. That would mean it would take something like 2 to 3 years for people to jailbreak new hardware, and almost a year to break revisions to old devices that fix an earlier jailbreak. (We're getting close to this level of security for some organizations.)
The trick is to be one of the Barons when networks are becoming widespread, and not an early innovator who gets in the history books but dies penniless. (Again fits with the railroad analogy.)
(And yes, trusted computation [DRM] as it is practiced now is bad, in the way that many things only possessed by only the powerful are also bad.)
> Yeah, some kind of trustworthy computing would be around a 4-5 on the scale. Maybe 6.
A great sign for this idea, is that it gets pooh-poohed and shouted down, particularly by people who don't even hear the entire thing and just pattern match the security part. The idea that DRM can be useful and beneficial to society as a whole is precisely "What You Can't Say" for large swathes of the tech community and even more mainstream society.
Right, it was a game console, and not even a particularly good one.
A real computing device (I'd accept tablets, but really, enterprise desktops and especially servers) would be entirely different.
What I really care about is servers which can be trusted to be "fair" by all parties -- server operators, software operators, and end users. There is absolutely nothing like that today, and it's impossible without trusted computing. It's unclear if trusted computing itself is feasible (it's theoretically possible).
If it works, we end up with Vernor Vinge's _True Names_
I downvoted you because you added nothing to the conversation by claiming you have a 6 but then adding no details to it. Hey I can do that too. I have an idea that ranks a 7! I am cooler than you! But I am not going to tell you what it is because I think having a good idea is harder than executing well and I don't have many good ideas and I am afraid you are going to steal mine.
Only way I can read that comment as anything but shameless self-promotion (or, more generously, over the line entrepreneurial-delusion) is if they intend to morph their using of social status to get things into being whuffies.
No worries, it's easy to be down on the public message right now. We're all pretty confident in the plan to overhaul the way commerce works in general, possibly to the end of supplanting "money" entirely. :)
Thanks... we have no plans on raising insects for human consumption! Right now, our prototype is producing fish, berries and vegetables; we'll be experimenting with fruit trees, beans, and eventually poultry (for eggs at first), mushrooms, and honey.
For auto-composting (not sure how micro you need to go...), we're thinking of using Black Soldier Fly Larvae to process the compost and auto-harvest into the fish tank for a snack for the fish. Another option is using earthworms, and manually (eventually automatically) harvesting them into the fish tanks, thus recycling one's food scraps back into food.
As far as blight and mold, those problems have been identified and solved with greenhouse and hydroponics growing. The key to these problems and other diseases is to make it easy to prevent, or failing that, treat those diseases. But again, this is a solved problem.
- you could try to change career, become a renowned research scientist and invent number 3-8 on the Yudkowsky Ambition scale, but ...
You are just one person, probably without the right inclinations to be a world class researcher (or frankly you would have become one, it would have been an irristable calling)
So a more worthwhile use of your time and effort would be as part of a co-ordinated effort to select, support and reward a world wide network of inter-dependant researchers, and then layers of secondary innovators and implementors who in totality will bring the benefits of scientific progress to all humanity.
They also serve who stand and insist politicians use
empirical based testing to validate their spending on
I know within my own batch (W12) the highest a startup pitched itself at demo day was about a 2.5- creating a company substantially bigger than Apple. I wouldn't be surprised if you could find a 4 or 5 somewhere in in all of YC with something along the lines of creating the next version of the internet (especially from the startups doing hardware). The tradeoff there is the variance is even higher; doing a software startup is safe, relatively speaking!
I don't think this scale applies so well in the healthcare vertical. Any major healthcare breakthrough is going to hit the latter half of 6 at least a bit, but I'm not sure that those all induce changes that scale above 5.
A major healthcare breakthrough that improved the quality of life for a large number of people would qualify as a solid 3 -- a major political-level change. I'd save 6 for things like defeating the aging process -- something that, like raising the IQ of the population at large, would also fundamentally change the human condition. I'm not really sure how many medical breakthroughs of this magnitude there are.
Improving world health status might not improve IQ as some inherent human intelligence capacity, but would certainly have an immeasurable population-level effect on "effective IQ" i.e. ability to practice whatever intelligence capacity exists already.
Consider just the challenge of defeating the obesity epidemic. Better diet improves energy and massively increases, again at the population level, the amount of raw thoughtful hours are available to a country.
This is even more widely applicable in global health where health initiatives can also be important components of social change. Women's/sexual health is tied deeply to women's rights which is a leading indicator for social revolution.
While medical breakthrough that change the space of healthcare at large might be rare, there's a lot of room instead for the kind of breakthrough which changes how people receive and are impacted by the healthcare knowledge we already have today.
I'd've rated Adipotide at 2 (make a large difference to the lives of hundreds of millions of people), and even with cognitive effects factored in, well, Apple hasn't had zero cognitive effect either. The thing is, there was already an age before high-fructose corn syrup when almost nobody was obese - you couldn't call it a novel change in the human condition to put things back to how they used to be. If you consider Apple as having popularized icon-based GUIs then it's got a substantially better claim to 5 or even 6 than a completely effective anti-obesity drug.
I think the idea of level 6 is not merely an incremental increase in effective IQ -- the internet and smartphones putting most of human knowledge at anyone's fingertips could qualify as that -- but something that fundamentally changes what it means to be human. Defeating obesity, the African AIDS epidemic, or even cancer would be amazing, heroic, and worldchanging, but still wouldn't qualify as changing what it means to be human.
"Hitting a bit" doesn't count, you'd have to think outside of established verticals - curing cancer would be a major healthcare breakthrough, but it's something like a 3 on that scale, no more.
For that, you'd have to think seriously big - doubling our expected lifespan is important, but it wouldn't bring that much of a change in our planet. A significantly improved homo sapiens species may qualify. Or a way to keep us going on forever - permanently fixing or replacing our bodies. Or a way to "upload" skills to brains, matrix-style.
6 is not making the current condition slightly more bearable - it's transferring us to a radically different state.
I'm not sure where it sits on the scale but the internet, web and associated technologies allow anyone to share without the limitations of physical media, an idea with any other person across any distance from across the room to as far as people spread in future and across time from instantly through to the end of civilization.
I'd say that's a fairly fundamental change for humanity.
It's a solid 5 -- made the kind of change that electrification did, in terms of there being massively many more ways to get informed, fact-check, collaborate, organize, the importance of location, and so on.
I don't know... what kind of impact has the internet actually made on human lifespans, or manufacturing output?
The internet has affected global GDP a lot, but almost entirely in the "moving numbers around in a database" fields, with all the profit ending up in the pockets of a few hundred hyperrich. (high finance, entertainment)
I think this is one of the cases where GDP misses what we're trying to measure. If, before the Web, I would have bought a product just barely useful enough to pay for, then post-Web, buy something different instead that is much, much better for me (has a higher consumer surplus), GDP will be the same, even though human welfare has significantly increased.
Normally, you can glaze over such a case, but the internet is basically filled with this kind of thing. Moreover, a lot of the stuff that you would normally have to pay for, you get effectively for free, and I'm not talking about pirated movies. I mean the collaboration, fact-checking, knowing of more options, info you'd normally need to buy a book for, etc. Again, cash payments for that stuff might have dropped, but it made people that much better off.
So if people that were doing things obviated by the Web, then go start doing something different, then, well "GDP is GDP" -- but that is a massive efficiency improvement.
I don't know about human lifespans or manufacturing output (though the widening collaboration opportunity increases the number of people that can solve foundational manufacturing problems), but that's only one of many human values, and I think it's an artificial requirement to compare to electricity on that basis -- almost like penalizing it because it didn't enable better hunting of large animals.
So stepping back to the level of human welfare and modes of life it enables, I think the Web is comparable to electricity.
Here's an informal measure: what does the technology do to the "quaintness" of (non-sci-fi) stories composed before it? After electricity, you might look at a book with a plot element "character can't work at night", and scoff at how backward it is.
Does the Web do something similar? I'd say it does a lot more. Per Steven Landsburg, there was a novel written in '91 (right at the Web's infancy) with plot elements like "someone is endlessly searching bookstores to find an obscure book" and "someone sells expensive encyclopedias to people with a tremendous demand for easy access to knowledge" -- very, very quaint from today's perspective.
Co-operative existence models of super massive intelligent entities (like Matrioshka brains), could equally end up being dominant vs 'last man standing' scenarios. But at least in LMS (which of course we are not fans of), there is no doubt as to the eventual outcome.
...Its interesting....before Google all the investors were saying that you could not compete against yahoo....and before you could not compete against IBM....and you could not compete aganits microsoft....All this was BS then and it is all BS today...
Appreciate the honesty in revealing that the biggest idea you've been pitched you can't actually talk about. But how about not taking the easy way out and instead answering what is the most frighteningly ambitious idea you have been convincingly pitched that you can talk about?
Thank you very much for taking this step. (Not disclosing long-term plans just because they're frighteningly ambitious). Hopefully this goes double for ideas you chose not to take 7% of for a couple of grand :)