me2

Research

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and they were asking of what practical use some research was. I know we argue against this all time time, but I'm going to try to get this as sound-bitey as possible. I invite ideas for further condensation of the point.

Requiring research to apply only to things that are of "practical value" means only ever creating things that are extrapolations of what we already know. I believe that all true and fundamental progress by humanity is made by people researching things that have absolutely no detectable practical value when first discovered. Make the discoveries first, let practicality emerge later.

"Practical" research may lead to a better toaster, but pure research leads to previously undreamed-of applications. Everything technology more advanced than a hammer that affects your life today was once something of no practical value.