Discover more from Adaobi’s Newsletter
These are a list of problems I think don’t get enough attention but are worth solving. Therefore you won’t find major problems like climate change on here because these are problems generally accepted as highly important and are being worked on a lot (although more can be done).
To prove and predict a person's ability is a very powerful thing. It controls who works where, what influence they have over what, what resources they get access to etc. Relying on brand names and biased qualitative data to make important decisions such as these seems woefully mismatched. I’ve written more about this topic here.
Create better plays and musicals
Beyond plays and musicals making life that much more enjoyable, they also act as fuel for better action. When you leave a good show you feel a deeper connection with emotions words can’t yet describe. This deeper sense of connection acts as fuel for action in the real world. A good example of this is Hamilton. After seeing it you can’t help but feel a sense of urgency. This caused me to 1) dream bigger and 2) pursue these dreams as quickly as possible. In times of crisis it’s still the show I run back to.
Unfortunately, since Hamilton It’s been a while since I have seen a really good play or musical. To be clear I have not seen a ridiculous amount of shows but from speaking with friends who have, we mostly share the same feeling.
My friend Charles is working on this, and I think he has some really great ideas. If you’d like to support him in solving this problem please reach out to him!
What comes after the professional critic
Relating to my points about good plays and musicals, a lot of the shows I have watched have been at the recommendation of highly praised reviews from professional critics. Reflecting back on my experience the reviews were truly terrible from an informational point of view. They were just filled with a lot of fancy words, sentences that didn’t mean anything and generally came across as fake deep.
I don’t really understand the professional critic’s incentive structure, but I do have to wonder if this plays a role in just how ridiculous they can be. I suppose the real question is why do we give them so much power and what comes next?
Grow personalized organs
Having kidney failure is horrible. The current most effective solution is a living donor transplant, however finding a living donor is rare and going the deceased donor route comes with a long wait time. In either case, both solutions come with an expiration date of 10-20 years until you need another.
The most ideal solution would be restoring my organ back to full health, however the science is not quite there yet. Until then growing organs made of one's own cells should be the priority. Yes, surgery sucks, but not having the expiration date of your organ looming over you makes it worth it. That and removing the need for immunosuppressive medication and all the wonderful things that come with it.
Make tokens spendable
A lot of people have accumulated tokens that will no longer appreciate in value, however that does not mean they are not valuable. In most cases a person usually has 1) a spendable* amount of money spread across a high number of “shit coins” that can’t be spent all through one transaction or 2) Have a shitcoin that has small spendable value, but the gas fees are too high to justify the spend.
If crypto is going to become a big thing then I would like to be able to at least spend it, especially since most of my everyday transactions aren’t more than £20.
At home blood tests
Theranos, I know, I know.
Putting Theranos aside, if someone were able to figure this out (with ideally a drop of blood), that would help a lot with catching diseases early. Speaking for myself I know for sure this would have.
Needles / Cannula
Nasty things. Having a needle in your arm permanently as a means of giving medication & taking blood is not great. Personally, I can’t think of a way to solve this problem, but the fact remains that it is extremely unpleasant and it would be nice to see some improvement in this area.
Miniaturisation of medical imaging tech
Why are MRI and CT scans so big? Why can hospitals only afford to have so few? Given how essential they are for diagnosing a whole bunch of medical issues, surely we should be working towards making them as cheap and accessible as possible? In an ideal world wouldn’t it be nice, maybe even life saving, if you could screen yourself much more often at the comfort of your own home?
Make healthy food accessible and affordable in poor areas
Given the well documented relationship between unhealthy food and disease, it seems criminal that healthier options are not affordable and available in impoverished areas, especially given that they are more likely to be unable to afford treatment for these diseases.
Next version of government
I have never worked in government so I will never truly understand how tough the job is or all the constraints they have to work with. That being said, as with anything, there is always room for improvement.
Given how much the government spends each year you would expect a massive change in the quality of life over the last 10 years, but that doesn’t seem to be the case (for me anyways).
Putting aside the poor value for money, I just do not trust the people in government to make decisions on my behalf. They have not given me any reason to, and doubt they ever will. The only thing that gives me hope is that “government” was not always like this. Like most things in nature it evolves - so what comes next?
Less specialists, more generalists
Current conventional wisdom dictates that the average person should focus on one thing, with only a few being able to handle the many. I actually think the opposite. I think most people are really good generalists, and only a few people are (and should be) specialists. I think if more people were encouraged to pursue their multiple interests the world would be more interesting.
Although the traumas of racism are heavily discussed, there is one area I feel isn’t talked about enough, and that is the theft of genius that comes with it.
As a Black woman you can expect to experience these 3 things in life:
1) Societal pressure to use your resources to enable the betterment of your people
2) Internal pressure to use your resources to enable the betterment of your people
3) Have all your interests, hopes, dreams pigeonholed by society into being Black and being a woman.
These three things rob us of the ability to build, dream and just do for the sake of it. A good, but unfortunate, example of lost genius is Miss Nina Simone.
Although the path she ended up on was successful by most people's standards, it wasn't the path she wanted for herself. She wanted to be a highly regarded classical pianist, and she was very gifted. However, Curtis Institute of Music school rejected her, in what is now widely believed to be due to racism. What life could she have had if the world did not rob her of that genius? What could her contribution to the world have looked like?
Unfortunately Miss Nina Simone is not the last lost genius, and won’t be for a while as long as racism, sexism and a bunch of other ism’s continue to exist.
Money as an incentive
A lot of things aren’t created because it doesn’t make money or doesn’t make enough money to sustain its own cost. It makes you wonder what wonderful things we are all missing out on because of this. Fortunately this is a problem that is getting more attention via the creation of more lenient grant giving organizations. Still, there isn’t enough, hence why it is on this list.
Scale of impact as an incentive
Similar to what has been written above, a lot of things aren’t created because its impact won’t reach a large enough scale. Again, the question is what wonderful things are multiple individuals missing out on because of this?