Regarding a prize for coming up with better MS treatments / a cure - this organization is going to continue on with the X Prize program and is looking for suggestions (see below).
About The WTN X PRIZE
The concept of the WTN X PRIZES is to utilize the concepts, procedures, technologies and publicity developed X PRIZE Foundation's Ansari X PRIZE competition for space and the global science and technology innovators identification process and community developed by the World Technology Network (WTN) to launch a series of technology prizes seeking to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.
The X PRIZE competition focused on jumpstarting a private space industry has re-proven the principle – strongly proven in the early years of the 20th century for the aviation industry – that innovation can indeed be catalyzed. That principle can and should be extended to other global challenges and opportunities and together we at the World Technology Network (WTN) and the X PRIZE Foundation are committed to doing just that.
What challenges/opportunities should be selected?
Although the idea of using the X PRIZE concept work in other areas is at first glance a simple and attractive one, a great deal of up-front thought needs to go into what challenges/opportunities would be selected. One could argue that there were certain qualities about the challenges and opportunities in both the aviation field and the space field that lent themselves extremely well to a private sector competition of the sorts which have occurred. Variables to be looked at might include:
* The maturity (or lack thereof) of the technology around which the competition would be based?
* The maturity (or lack thereof) of the related industries from which a new industry would be born
* The number of potential “competitors” potentially able to meet the challenge or at least the depth of the pool from which potential competitors could be drawn
* The level of the specificity of the challenge
* The financial resources potentially available to finance the potential competitors
* The financial resources potentially available to finance the Prize itself
* How potentially compelling and exciting is the field around which the challenge would be based
* The amenability of the target area to a threshold change in public expectation
* The replicability of the challenge to other areas?
* The level of the presumed long-term benefit to business and society
The list of questions above is by no means exhaustive, but does give a sense of how the selection of a new challenge is not as first as simple as it may seem. It is absolutely key that the right challenges are selected – sufficiently exciting to compel hearts and minds, sufficiently ambitious to reach beyond what is already likely going to occur soon and to have a truly substantial impact, and sufficiently focused to have a good chance of succeeding within a reasonable timescale.
Potential types of challenges?
Here is a very rough and incomplete list of the sorts of challenges that might be appropriate:
* Medical challenges, such a cure for cancer or other major diseases.
* Technological “holy grails”, such as artificial intelligence, teleportation, molecular assemblers (true nanotechnology), cold fusion, or a believable virtual reality system
* Major global challenges, such as the various UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) announced by the world’s leaders at the UN in 2000 at the Millennium Summit.
Why We Are Asking You For Suggestions?
There are over billions of people on the planet, almost each of whom has a dream for a better world. The chances of us finding a truly worthwhile series of challenges for the WTN X PRIZE competitions over the coming years are that much greater the more suggestions we receive. We are asking you because your dreams are the repository of an enormous amount of creativity and hope. In the spirit of man’s first reach into space, we ask you to stretch your imagination to help take humanity to the next level. Are you up to the challenge?