The App we most need: An interactive roadmap of human progress

To spread love today, Valentines Day, I offer a simple idea for the benefit of all humanity.

Perhaps one of you can make it big with a pitch to Apple’s reality TV show ‘Planet of the Apps‘.

Here’s the idea: Create an interactive live roadmap of human progress

We have the Internet, the most advanced widespread human communication tool to date, but we aren’t using it to evolve as we could, as we should, as we must, to survive.

Imagine a Progress Map App to coordinate human efforts, allowing teams and individuals to see, contribute to and report progress in areas of need. 

At full “zoom out” you will see a graphical display our greatest overall needs as a species.

Each top domain area, which might be Food, Energy, Health, and so on, would show an overall color/shape code for how we are doing. It is a dynamic customizable map, so your view is adjustable from many available options.

As you zoom in, you will see a mind map of connected topics each with their own progress code. Under Food, you may see Production, Consumption, Health, etc. 

The map could be populated from interactions search engines with help from a team of human librarians to codify a process for agreement on what constitutes progress in each area. 

The app itself would have a democratic component, where you could agree or disagree with any progress rating, but you’d need to give a brief valid reason, which everyone would consider.

A purposeful life spent contributing to the greater good is a life well spent, a happy life. 

With a map of human progress, an individual could see and choose where to help. You could find that sweet spot where your interests, needs and abilities intersect. 

Investors could make socially relevant contributions, building and funding where we really need it.

The Map of Human Progress could transform our species. It could save us from ourselves.

Science would advance faster and we would make more realistic decisions. 

We might all realize, with this App, for example, that cleaning up Fukushima is the most important thing to do for humanity right now, that every available person should be diverted to work on a resolution to that catastrophe. 
We could really take off as a species, clean up our act, improve everyone’s life on the planet, find a back up planet and move out into the stars.

Please share this idea, flesh it out, work out the details, make it happen!
With love,


PS. The project is already started! (It just needs to grow into an interactive App that shows how a person can contribute.)

Evidence from academic institutions and international organizations shows dramatic improvements in human well-being. These improvements are especially striking in the developing world.

Unfortunately, there is often a wide gap between the reality and public perception, including that of many policymakers, scholars in unrelated fields, and intelligent lay persons. To make matters worse, the media emphasizes bad news, while ignoring many positive long-term trends.

We hope to help in correcting misperceptions regarding the state of humanity through the presentation of empirical data that focuses on long-term developments. All of our wide-ranging data comes from third parties, including the World Bank, the OECD, the Eurostat, and the United Nations. By putting together this comprehensive data in an accessible way, our goal is to provide a useful resource for scholars, journalists, students, and the general public.

While we think that policies and institutions compatible with freedom and openness are important factors in promoting human progress, we let the evidence speak for itself. We hope that this website leads to a greater appreciation of the improving state of the world and stimulates an intelligent debate on the drivers of human progress.

Note: is a project of the Cato Institute with major support from the John Templeton Foundation, the Searle Freedom Trust, the Brinson Foundation and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation. It requires no registration or membership. All data, charts, maps, and calculation tables can be used free of charge, but require an acknowledgment.


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