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Elevating the Human Condition

Last Build Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2018 01:02:58 +0000


The Uplift Prize

Sat, 29 Aug 2015 21:08:17 +0000

Welcome to The Uplift Prize page at HumanityPlus! HumanityPlus serves as the incubator for The Uplift Prize, which is a series of innovation prizes designed to advance technologies that have a high multiplier effect in uplifting the condition of people earning under $1/day.   Uplifting 1 Billion People by 2020 by Kartik Gada Human inequality is a reality of our world, and will not change in the foreseeable future.  But why should the ‘floor’ of the human condition be so low?  If hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid and private charity have been distributed in the last 25 years, why do 2 billion people still lack the very basic human necessities? The problem with traditional forms of charity are not just the known problems (administrative overhead, corruption, wastage), but also the principles of how charity is presently done.  The entire process is premised on the assumption of a zero-sum redistribution, with no concept of incentives or self-sufficiency at all.  From my experiences in India, I have seen that even the most destitute person, once they receive enough food for the next week, very quickly defaults into a mentality of not needing to take any further action for the remainder of the week.  Needless to say, the traditional model of charity is broken, and is no longer helping the intended recipients, who have been trained to anticipate handouts. Suppose, instead, we teach them how to fish. The X Prize Foundation has demonstrated that innovation prizes can greatly accelerate the rate of advancement in fields that the X Prize stimulates, which to date include private spaceflight and electric cars.  So why not use the principle of incentives being the catalyst of superlative human effort to create a couple of much smaller prizes that address the stubborn persistence of global poverty?  With this goal in mind, I thought about how to create a solution with the most asymmetrical impact. It always troubled me that 2 billion humans, or 30% of humanity, do not have access to clean drinking water.  This includes 40% of the world’s children under the age of 15.  This causes millions of deaths from dehydration, as well as from cholera and dysentery from being forced to drink unclean water.  More than even food and clothing, a lack of regular drinking water inflicts misery and a loss of productivity. Yet, this basic problem still persists, despite billions in aid to create irrigation systems.  So the goal has to be to put the means of water purification in the hands of the final recipient, thereby bypassing all corruption and dependence on infrastructure. Instead, what if we could use the latest purification technologies, such as nanomembranes, and construct an innovation prize that would be awarded to the first inventor who could create a device for under $3 that could either filter or condense enough water per day for one person, without being dependent on any infrastructure, like an electrical grid?  If we set the prize at a modest $50,000, all sorts of grassroots innovation might be inspired to produce such a device by 2015. Now, for the next obstacle, I think we can become more ambitious.  After people have water, they may want to pursue slightly higher goals. An industrial infrastructure to provide the products and employment that elevates average people in emerging economies to an intermediate level of human development can take decades to build.  With the success of China in assimilating so much of the global economy’s low-cost manufacturing output, many of the world’s poorest nations have no opportunity to construct and secure their own manufacturing sector.  Hence, this stage of human upliftment has become a chasm that many nations are finding difficult to cross. But if manufacturing itself can be brought to the scale that cottage industries operate in, then the scale of Chinese mass-manufacturing is no longer a requirement to be cost competitive.  A technology that removes the fixed costs and volume necessities associated with heavy manufacturing can reduce the barriers to en[...]

Thank You!

Mon, 12 Nov 2012 05:32:16 +0000

Thank you for your membership! Please sign up for the newsletter and check our “Events” page.

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Hplus-talk email discussion list launched

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 10:46:58 +0000

Please go to to join us for wide-ranging discussion of the amazing possibilities lying in humanity’s future!    

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Humanity+ Restructuring for 2012

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 16:35:07 +0000

Humanity+ recently convened at the 2011 Constitutional Convention to evaluate its mission, projects, and overall plans for the future. The Board discussed the responsibilities of its Board members, what projects are doable, how to better strategize, whether to have an Executive Director at this time, and if reducing the size of the Board would be beneficial. With the restructuring, Thomas McCabe graciously stepped down as Executive Director and several Board members have indicated resigning due to other commitments. We will be increasing the number of Advisors and plan for each Board member to take a leadership position with one project for the coming year. The projects that received the most positive feedback from our survey are Humanity+ conferences, H+ Magazine, Future Day, Virtual TV Minds Matter, Humanity+ Press, and H+SN. The Board of Directors gives our warmest thanks to Tom McCabe for his role as ED. During his term some of his contributions include taking the lead on the 2011 Humanity+ Matching Challenge, the Aubrey de Grey Advocacy Prize, bringing in new Humanity+ Advisors, and initiating the Humanity+ Facebook cause. To date, Tom remains a valued member of the Board of Directors. We and look forward to a successful 2012!

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Hello world!

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 04:43:21 +0000

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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