The World’s Biggest Problems

This list is a compilation of my favorite world-changing problems. I rank these problems by the positive benefits to humanity if they were solved.

This project is inspired by one of my favorite quotes:

“You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, ‘How did he do it? He must be a genius!”

— Richard Feynman (via Gian-Carlo Rota, Indiscrete Thoughts)

I currently have five big problems to solve and ten specific missions that I think would have the biggest positive impact on these problems. I’ve also started notes on 50+ potential solutions, three of which I’ve created into startups.

As I refine these ideas, I’m pushing myself to work in public and document more of my thought processes. I have started to publish my notes on potential solutions and will link these notes here once they’re live.

There are way too many important problems in the world for any one person to solve, which is why I’m sharing them all here so we can get more people organized around all of these problems.

My #1 reason for publishing this list is to start a constructive debate about the world’s biggest problems and best solutions. Let’s riff and refine on this list – share your big ideas on Twitter and tag me @neilthanedar for a response!

Neil’s Moonshot Rankings:
Ranking:Problems:Solutions:
1Maximize Human PotentialUtopiaforming
Personal Capital
The Next GDP
Maximize Chaotic Good
Legalize Psychedelics
Scale Quality Education CheaplyUniversal Preschool
Montessori K-12 School
ISAs for Vocational Education
Build a Third Brain
Scale Quality Healthcare CheaplyUniversal Healthcare + Private Option
Nonprofit Pharmaceuticals
Nonprofit Medical Devices: Air to All
Decentralized Clinical Trials
Caseworkers for All
Prevent SuicidesHyperthymic Antidepressants
Trusted Therapy Network
CrossFit for the Mind
Men’s Groups
AI as Companion
End PovertyFederal Job Guarantees
Rise of Human Jobs
Peak (and Decline) Population
2Ensure Earth’s FutureOpenAI for Biology
Earth Defense Force
Oil-Free Petrochemical Alternatives
Modern HVAC
Scale Clean Energy CheaplyDistributed Utilities
Solar Panel Roofing
Swanson’s Law
Defend Water SupplyDefend the Antarctic Ice Sheet
Defend The Great Lakes
Independent Heavy Metals Testing
At-Home Water Testing Kit
Filtering Faucet
Regulate Food SupplyUniversal Food Security
Independent Testing: Labdoor
Crypto Certifications: TEST
3Protect Individual LibertiesFree People > Free Markets
Zero-Knowledge Services
Distributed Internet
The Rise of Pseudonyms
Counter AuthoritarianismCryptographic Voting
Unbundle The Police
Criminal Justice Reforms
Civil Justice Reforms
4Value Impact > Labor > CapitalCapitalism 2.0
Nonprofit Startups
Collective Action Network
Promote Independent BusinessesFounder Accelerator
Startup Stock Exchange
Indie Business Movement
Start A Business Today
5Optimize Government for GoodNew Bill of Rights
Progressive Regulation
New Efficiency Movement
Redistribute Spending
End Corporate Warfare
Recruit Independents Into PoliticsRanked Voting
YC for Politicians
The Politicians Next Door
Independents Movement
End Majority Rule
Last Updated: October 18, 2020