Unlocking awesome AND a tax writeoff?
If you squint, supporting Speculative Technologies is like buying a portfolio to create an excellent future
If you want to create a world where everybody can meet friends for lunch on the other side of the world, play basketball with their grandchildren, and have the opportunity to explore the universe – it will require a portfolio of risky technology bets that don’t have homes in existing institutions. Spectech is working to give that work a home.
It feels a bit gauche and I promise to rarely use the blog for this, but I’d like to make an argument why you should consider supporting Speculative Technologies as part of your year-end giving or 2024 plans if you want to be part of building a more abundant and wonderful future.
If you’re skeptical of nonprofits and donations, that’s fair! But consider that almost all of us are wealthy today because in the past, someone did speculative research that they couldn’t capture the value of: whether it was creating the internet, developing semiconductors, or understanding the crystal structures of steel alloys. We can’t pay them back, but we can pay it forward – enabling that same kind of work so that someone like you in the future can become wealthy off of technology that we can barely imagine today.
It’s incredibly hard to predict which technologies will drastically improve the world and even harder to know which approaches to those technologies will work: In the 1970s, well-informed technical people thought that general-purpose antivirals were right around the corner and solar panels were a dead-end niche.
As Vitalik Buterin pointed out in his recent piece on techno-optimism:
“[In technology creation] not just magnitude but also direction matters. There are certain types of technology that much more reliably make the world better than other types of technology.”
History suggests that creating new materials and manufacturing processes are two of the types of technology that much more reliably make the world better. In short, they are upstream of so much that improves our material condition: you need stainless steel instruments for sanitary surgery, pure silicon, low-activation jackets, and superconductors for clean energy, and nitrogen-fixing processes for abundant food.
It’s common wisdom that one should buy a portfolio of stocks or invest in a portfolio of startups. The uncertainty about which technologies will matter, combined with genuinely high-risk work means that you can think of supporting Speculative Technologies as buying into an impact portfolio.
Speculative Technologies is a not-for-profit organization that (for now!) operates off of donations. You can support us by pledging a paid subscription to the substack, directly donating here, or getting in touch with us directly for larger donations (atom-based research is expensive!)
All support is tax-deductible and we have a number of donor-exclusive events, posts, and swag in the works for 2024.
Thanks for reading Spectech Newsletter! Subscribe for free to stay in the loop.