Solutions to real world problems

Since programming is about finding solutions to problems, I would like to ask what kind of problems most of the programmers can’t find a solution. I mean, real world problems. Zed said to play around with everthing like programming applied to biology, economy and the list goes on. But I was thinking a little bit about it, then I asked myself: Is there programmers who are afraid to try something in order to make the world a safet and cool place? I mean, I’m from Brazil and there’s a lot going on here when the subject is politcs. There’s a lot of idiots stealing people’s money. So I thought, wha if I try to fix it (the system) and the governement send his ‘soldies’ to jail me.

Keep in mind that a lot of the real world problems that you describe are not problems for many programmers since they come from backgrounds that are much more privileged. For them a real world problem is things like “Taxis Suck”, so they invent Uber. But, examples of projects that do attempt to tackle these things more come from the computer security world. Bitcoin, Tor, I2P, GPG, are examples of attempting to solve some problems, but again they are written by people who come from privilege so their solutions end up lacking in many ways, or are specifically designed just to avoid laws they think shouldn’t apply to them.

There’s also the safety issue you talk about. In Brazil exposing corruption can be deadly. In the US right now it could be as well depending on who you are aiming for. Ultimately, for a programmer to work on any of these problems they would need to move to a country where they would be free from prosecution for doing any of this work.

So, if a lot of the solutions programmers propose don’t really help anyone who’s really poor, and the things that would really help the poor (eliminating corruption) can be deadly, then what’s left? That moves into what I try to do: education. In the real world it’s very difficult to accuse someone who’s just trying to teach simple topics to people of any wrong doing. The next best thing is employment. If you help enough people get out of poverty through education then you can possibly change the way things are because we all know, the people with more money tend to have more of a voice sadly. You could even do something as simple as making it possible for people in poor rural areas to get paper and pencils. Believe it or not, that’s a big problem in some places. Just basic supplies for education.

Other topics would be health care. Making it easier for people to treat themselves, find treatment, get higher quality treatment, and improve their overall health will solve many problems for the poor. Nobody has a problem with helping people live healthier lives, but if they’re healthy and strong, and resistance is easier.