If you had infinite money, no job, and no responsibilities, what would you
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If you had infinite money, no job, and no responsibilities, what would you do...

by Austin PocusJanuary 29th, 2021
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This Slack discussion by austin, Linh and Dane occurred in hackernoon's official #slogging-beta channel, and has been edited for readability.

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This Slack discussion by austin, Linh and Dane occurred in hackernoon's official #slogging-beta channel from October 8 to October 30, 2020, and has been edited for readability. (P.S. Visit to read more about posting your Slack threads to Hacker Noon)

austinOct 28, 2020, 8:43 PM
If you had infinite money, no job, and no responsibilities, what would you do with your time?
austinOct 28, 2020, 8:50 PM
personally, i would make stuff, for the most part. old school nintendo games, tools for making those old school games, play music, make tools for making music...might even take up painting. any artistic endeavor would be fun.

i think i’d dedicate some portion of time to long term projects and some to short term, some sort of split, so i could pursue super ambitious, huge projects as well as the quick, satisfying wins of say, building a simple game over a weekend. hell, it might even turn into some sort of creative collective, that would be cool. but i’d be perfectly happy spending all my free time on neat little projects on the nintendo, electronics, music, etc.

that, and i would read a lot. i’d have the world’s largest library. not just a personal library either — i’d literally start the world’s largest library, with all of that money. do seminars and learning sessions…that could be fun. teach anyone who’s interested how stuff works, stuff like that.

at least, those are the first things that come to mind, if we’re talking “free time”. obviously with infinite money you could completely change the world…but beyond just feeding people and housing them and what have you, i don’t really have any interest in becoming the supreme world leader or anything 😛 so i guess the last thing i’d do is make sure everyone’s taken care of, assuming i have infinite resources here.
LinhOct 28, 2020, 9:03 PM
I would largely do what I mostly do now, which is to live my life in the mountains, raise Norah, and donate all my money to grow Hacker Noon into a company that makes the internet a better place. But I also would try to go to Vietnam and bypass the law that prevented all americans from entering Vietnam (as do many other places) by creating an investment entity in Vietnam to grow the tech scene there. For context, all travels from America are banned in most countries, except for 22, Vietnam not included. Only selected businesses and individuals from America can go to Vietnam right now. And those businesses need legit reasons, such as investment in the country, to go there. Talking about tanking our covid responses so epicly as “the greatest nation on earth”….
austinOct 28, 2020, 9:09 PM
fair enough 🙂 and yeah, that's an awesome idea! didn't you need a visa to go there pre-covid as well? like you couldn't just travel there on a whim, with just a passport, like you can to many european countries that we have an agreement with, i thought? could be wrong. but yeah we are so far from "the greatest" right now you're tempting me with the whole "supreme world leader" bit... maybe i'd start a little super PAC...
LinhOct 28, 2020, 9:10 PM
it’s a tit for tat thing. Vietnamese need visa to go to many countries, USA included, and so do Americans in certain countries. Main point is: visa won’t help at this point. American passport is literally useless in most countries right now, except for 22 (barbados, the maldives, cambodia… are among some of those)
austinOct 28, 2020, 9:16 PM
oh for sure, i was just asking purely out of curiosity, because i couldn't remember if you needed a visa to go there, before. i know, now we're like...worst passport in the world, in terms of countries you can go to 😬 i saw some site had done a ranking, by the number of countries you could visit. but you're absolutely right -- i'm thinking we need an overhaul of how borders work altogether, and then some.

eh you've convinced me, i'd probably end up in some sort of "world leader" type position...too much trouble in the world, to worry about yourself, at that point. the original hypothetical was meant as more of a personal, "cabin in the middle of nowhere" type scenario, but yeah, this is totally different 😄 and the thread is better for it, really
LinhOct 28, 2020, 9:18 PM
ahaha. I guess it reveals stages where we are at in lives, this question. I have too many strings attached (a 30 pound toddler for once) to go cabin in the middle of nowhere. Also, I love how isolated we are already and I don’t mind that one bit!
austinOct 28, 2020, 9:21 PM
haha for sure! hard to do whatever you like with a toddler in tow. but yeah this question, now that i think of it, is like...super personal and revealing
DaneOct 30, 2020, 2:43 PM
Infinite money? I assume when you say infinite that you're talking about enough money to take care of any imaginable need, not actually infinite money. But I'll answer both just for fun.

Real Infinite Money:
If you have infinite money, it would be cruel to not at very least solve every immediate problem humanity faces. World hunger, poverty, climate change, figuring out fusion...

It's also tempting to figure out intersteller travel, mine asteroids, and harness additional energy from the sun by building a dyson swarm. But I think a significant amount of research would be needed before diving into that project. So I'd invest in super computers to run simulations before doing anything too crazy.

Pseudo Infinite Money:
I'd build what I'd call a "project wall". This would be an actual wall with a 10x10 grid of large compartments. Each cell in the grid represents a project. The compartment holds notes, tools, and everything I'd need to personally manage the project.

Then every day I'd wake up, have a coffee, look at my project wall...then decide which project I'd want to invest my day working on.
austinOct 30, 2020, 4:56 PM
Dane right, so that was phrased badly...what i really meant to ask was, "if you didn't have to worry about money, and had all the free time you wanted, what would you do with it?". but both scenarios are interesting.

i love that you go to utopian space exploration, in the "infinite" scenario. 😄 creating a utopia, even with infinite resources, is definitely an interesting challenge, because...not everyone's going to be on board with your particular plan. what do you do, if you wanted to say, end global hunger, and a significant portion of humanity disagreed with how you were going about it? ending hunger is a bit of a contrived example -- the naysayers can just...not eat the food, themselves. you might run into trouble if a particular country won't let you in...but if you were to institute some sort of global rule, change laws, etc...that's a whole other situation. there would definitely be people who would be opposed to that sort of thing. but then, something tells me you'd favor a "prime directive"-style approach 😉

as for the "pseudo-infinite" scenario...that's pretty much what i'd do too, yeah 🙂 you have it more organized, with the project wall, but essentially the idea is "spend time on things that make me happy". which is probably how everyone would answer, ultimately, but what makes you happy is the real question.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 5:56 PM
In the first scenario, I'd never solve global hunger by implementing some sort of a law or forcing people to eat something against their will. I'd simply make sure food is available to every human. What people choose to do with that availability is up to them.

I think fixing global warming is a far trickier challenge given infinite resources because there will be a lot of people who think any form of geoengineering is bad. And a lot of other people will disagree on the solution. So the solution is not exactly straight forward. But it is necessary.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 5:59 PM
I think a lot of people will generally say that if their needs are taken care of they'd invest their time doing things. Different flavors of organizing how you do things is interesting...but maybe we should dive deeper into specific examples of things we'd do.
LinhOct 30, 2020, 6:01 PM
Dane a 10x10 grid of large compartments. that sounds so much fun. this question makes me think a lot about this.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 6:03 PM
Here is one example of a project I'd love to dive into...

I'd build a smart mirror the size of an entire wall. I'd then probably start connecting it to different data sources and play with various visualizations of the available data. Then I'd think about generalizing the platform so other sources can push data to me rather than pulling. Then I'd commission indie developers to create new data sources + visualizations.
austinOct 30, 2020, 6:03 PM
Dane right, so the food example was a bad one -- you can just provide food, and people can take it or not. but yeah, global warming is a great example. definitely necessary, but the question do you get everyone to play nice without going full-utopian-dictator and just ruling with an iron fist? i mean, you could go the "prime directive" route, as i suggested before, and let individual countries, or even smaller subdivisions of groups of people, decide for themselves whether to participate. but then, you run into issues if big players / polluters don't cooperate...

hell, let's go at this head-on. what if you have say, a country committing genocide? obviously you can't have that in a utopia. how do you handle that without violating anyone else's rights? this might just be an open question...i'm not sure there's a neat-and-clean answer, unless you just say "fuck it, i'm invading and ending this".

as for the things to do, we should absolutely get more specific! so in my case, i think i'd work on old computer systems -- the nintendo family like the NES and Game Boy / GBC, Commodore 64 or Apple II, etc. most likely just making games, audio and visual hacks, demos, etc. what sort of projects would you work on?
austinOct 30, 2020, 6:04 PM
whoa, that mirror idea is cool. an open source mirror...very cool. i'd use motion sensors to let me manipulate stuff with my hands like in minority report 😄
DaneOct 30, 2020, 6:07 PM
Another example, I'd love to build a VR sculpting program for rapid prototyping. I'd then integrate that tool with 3D printing and software to make designs more precise to iterate. I'd then use this setup to design things like chairs, tools and various things I need to interact with the physical world.
austinOct 30, 2020, 6:08 PM
damn dane. putting me to shame here 😅 i would like to go beyond some of the simpler demos, games, etc. and get that RPG maker up and running... 👀 that would be fun. especially the language design bits!

also if you want to build that VR sculpting-to-3d-model software, i will 100% buy a 3d printer just to use it
DaneOct 30, 2020, 6:11 PM
Example #3:
I'd design some sort of underground cavern that is a combination between a wine celler and a spa with an insanely relaxing Japanese soaking tub for thinking about new project ideas with a huge selection of available wine.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 6:14 PM
austin building an RPG maker would be pretty amazing. Going with a classic retro design would be so nostalgic. But it would also be great to come up with entirely new concepts for battles.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 6:15 PM
Example #4:
I'd start commissioning utopian retro futuristic works of art.
austinOct 30, 2020, 6:24 PM
Dane oh definitely. with the rpg maker, ideally, i'd start with a final fantasy or chrono trigger style battle system, then add more and more ways to customize until eventually, you can customize it so that it's not even recognizable compared to "stock" games.

as for example #3, i'd do the same thing, but instead of wine i think i'd have a selection of cannabis (hey, it's legal here 😉). that's a bit trickier, with storage, because the old stuff will dry out over time, lose terpenes (flavor, essentially)...but with essentially unlimited resources, i'm sure i could figure something out. some sort of humidor-like container, maybe...

and as for #4: i would really like to see that. like 50's americana-style portraits but of a utopian future?
DaneOct 30, 2020, 6:48 PM
Exactly, I really would like to have 50's retro-future art depicting a utopian future.

Example #5:
I'd love to selectively breed some type of vegetable or fruit to bring out a trait that I crave. Maybe I'd work on making tomatoes with more umami or poblano peppers that have more of a smoky/savory flavor.
austinOct 30, 2020, 6:50 PM
ok, example 5 is could totally do it, too. in the simplest case, you just taste from a set of plants and breed the ones you like. but! i bet you could get really fancy and analyze the tomato chemically and figure out which plants are giving the best combinations of chemicals which equate to a given taste...idk, i'm not a scientist (IANAS). but it seems like you could find properties of the plant, genetic, or otherwise chemical, that would give you "hints" as to the taste traits.
austinOct 30, 2020, 6:52 PM
i'd like to do this as well, but with preserved meats like salami, jerky, prosciutto, etc. see which factors in the production process lend to a more appealing flavor...that would be fun. and also very tasty.
austinOct 30, 2020, 6:53 PM
cured meats. that's what i meant.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 6:58 PM
It's tempting to use CRISPR for modifying plants...but everyone seems to be morally opposed to that approach for some reason.
austinOct 30, 2020, 7:00 PM
as long as the plants are isolated and can't cross pollinate with the general ecosystem, i don't see a problem with it. like let's say you inadvertently introduce a trait that makes plants super vulnerable to cold, and you don't notice because your growing setup doesn't account for that, climate is different, etc. obviously you wouldn't want a genetic line that'll kill off all the plants to get out into the world.

then again, all the monsanto corn is basically from the same genetic line, last i checked, and it could theoretically all be wiped out from a single disease...

my point is, genetic diversity is good and we should be careful about what we introduce to things like essential crops
austinOct 30, 2020, 7:05 PM
i guess i'd say it's not a moral opposition, for me at least -- it's a very practical concern of introducing unintended genetic consequences to a line of crops, that gets into the wild. from there you sort of lose control over it, and we can't really predict the mutations from there, right?
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:05 PM
Isolating to prevent potentially dangerous scenarios is a good idea but I agree that the biggest problems when it comes to agriculture are 1) monocultures and 2) You could genetically modify plants while maintaining an ecological balance through biodiversity...but I'm no expert so don't listen to me.
austinOct 30, 2020, 7:06 PM
i believe the acronym you're looking for is IANAS -- "i am not a scientist". 😉 and neither am i (i really want to make this acronym a thing 😂)
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:08 PM
I fancy myself as an aspirational scientist. Just not an expert. 😉
austinOct 30, 2020, 7:08 PM
oh same here 😄 i'm a wannabe scientist. a science fan. an enthusiast
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:08 PM
But I'm always happy to help an acronym out so I'll add it to my vocabulary.
austinOct 30, 2020, 7:08 PM
haha thank you!
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:11 PM
It would be awesome if there were a real-life RPG for advancing as a scientist based on how much science you know. People could even put it on their social profiles.
I'm a LV 1 Scientist
austinOct 30, 2020, 7:12 PM
i think there should be tier names sort of like "apprentice", "journeyman", "master", etc (the terminology is outdated, but you know). like you could be an "acolyte", a "physics guru", a "chemistry apprentice"...idk. i like the idea of adding somewhat mystical terminology to a very non-mystical discipline 😅
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:13 PM
Khan Acadamy should give out badges based on how many courses you've completed.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:14 PM
But just because they give you an image doesn't necessarily make it meaningful. Maybe if they incorporate your name into the image and do some sort of integration with social networks.
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:17 PM
It should be easy to cross-reference a social profile with a science level to be a trust signal. Maybe social networks should even proactively disclose this information. Say Trump is posting about climate change on Twitter. There could be an accompanying message saying
This sounds like science. Just so you know, Trump is currently a LV 0 scientist
DaneOct 30, 2020, 7:22 PM
Of course there should not be a centralized authority on rating a person's science level. It is a challenging problem. But it would be nice to have access to that data when we consume information.
austinOct 30, 2020, 7:32 PM
oh for sure! it's a super difficult problem, to "rank" someone's scientific knowledge...seems like some good ol' peer review is in order 👀 i would love to see that on dubious twitter claims and other internet trickery