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Why we need to connect the world face-to-face

Imagine if every person on the planet was connected and incentivised to speak, learn and share with each other face-to-face online.

There would be 3 main benefits:

1) Increased real education; i.e encouraging curiosity, independent thought and face-to-face interaction
2) Increased and improved social groups; i.e increasing the number and diversity of people that someone can interact with on a daily basis
3) Increased accessibility and opportunity; i.e ensuring people, and thus their knowledge, are truly accessible to everyone else, and thus reducing worldwide inequality

These points are explored in greater depth in the following 4 paragraphs, with a proposed solution after.

Most of us are not content with the current education systems. I personally don't think that my potential has ever been realised throughout my schooling. It felt more like spoon-fed information and keeping children out of trouble, rather than real education. Real education does not happen via a single teacher in a single room. Real education happens when you explore, meet new people, share stories, experiences and develop in a multitude of locations with a variety of 'teachers'. Education is exploring, having the freedom to fail, to then self-improve, while keeping your curiosity intact. It is not cramming for an exam or being spoon-fed, and it certainly isn't not testing your knowledge on the real world. Often school seems to beat out our instinctual curiosity in life, which Ken Robinson so brilliantly describes in his TED talk 'schools kill creativity'.

Adding to the general poor education we face, I believe that many of the world's problems come from 'sticky social groups' i.e when people stick to social groups similar to their own. This prevents them developing their understanding of others - limiting their empathy - which can lead to tendencies such as fear, hate, violence, far-right extreme views and war. Throughout history, and in most parts of the world there will always be 'groups' or 'tribes' of people of certain types that have prejudice against others. Most of the reasons for why this happens usually boil down to poor education, which can be amplified by a lack of exposure to others at a young age, and indoctrination from parents or politicians. At the heart for why people are prejudice is a perceived fear for their own personal safety - in which I believe education helps to alleviate. That is why education is so key to reducing conflict.

If, across Europe, say each individual has frequent interactions with people from say Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan etc, then perhaps we wouldn't be at so many wars, and we would look after our fellow beings more - especially the most desperate people such as the migrants crossing the mediterranean sea.

Not having a good education sadly affects most of the world. The dire consequences of these are of course vast: fear, miscommunication, and naive actions ... resulting in criminal activities, war, violence, and destruction to our planet. Consequently, we need a global education system which is truly accessible to everyone. The increased diversity and number of connections that each person can make with others around the world, the better the education, and the better the world is for all of us.

The solution:
What does this new education system look like?

Imagine an ethical Facebook-like site, but for live-learning sessions. Where you are actively encouraged and supported to connect with new people. Where instead of browsing cat videos and getting lured into commenting about frivolous material, you are learning, being inspired, hearing amazing stories, and having unique insights into other people's lives -- and it is all tailored to you! Via this platform you are also learning how to share your own life, which increases your self-worth, your confidence - realising what you do and don't know, which helps you to improve your self-understanding and future prospects. Furthermore, the platform would improve your curiosity in who and what to speak or learn about next, all while improving your independent thought through having stimulating conversations.

To ensure true accessibility of people's knowledge, traditional money could not be used as the inequality is too vast around the globe to include everyone. Consequently, a time-based system would need to be used, in which people trade in time. When you share, you earn minutes. When you learn, you spend them. Simple.

Imagine the possibilities for what you could speak, learn or share about with people globally. The possibilities are truly endless as the human mind is as vast as the universe.

Fortunately, a group of volunteers have been working on this solution for the past few years, and it is almost ready to launch.

Along with 15 volunteers, we have created the first version of the site which will launch on 28th May. All we need now is for you to try it, and to help us grow it into this beautiful vision. Please support us along this journey. It won't be easy, but the most important things never are!

We hope you will delve into fellow minds with us and reap the benefits!

Author: Samuel Naef
8BM founder