The Four Pillars of Solve
By midcentury, nearly 10 billion people will inhabit our planet. Where will we find the food and clean water to nourish everyone? How will we create modern and productive cities where people can thrive? How will we educate people for a lifetime of rapidly changing opportunity, reaching everyone, anywhere, who has the will to learn? Will we be able to provide effective health care to all who need it, combating the diseases that bring suffering and cut lives short? How will we power a global digital economy to provide meaningful and engaging work for all who seek it? Can we generate cleaner energy to fuel our rapidly growing world? How will we adapt to a planet already inexorably affected by climate change?
These are the hard questions of our time, questions we must begin to address now to prepare for a future that is just a short time away.
Solve will challenge its invited attendees to consider these difficult problems in the context of four content pillars: Learn, Cure, Fuel, and Make. Each pillar focuses on one central objective and identifies a series of questions that approach that objective by breaking it into smaller pieces. These questions are at the center of the Solve conference on the MIT campus in October 2015, when each will be explored to help us understand both the opportunities for progress toward our objectives and the barriers to achieving it. The ideas generated at the October meeting, we hope, will form the basis for concrete projects that Solve and its community will facilitate in the following months and years.
By no means does the objective of each pillar represent the only, or even the toughest or most pressing, problem in each area. Rather, the objective and its related questions represent a starting point, a stake in the ground.