The NSA has tremendous computing power, storage capabilities, and some of the smartest mathematicians and computer scientists on the planet.

Let's assume that the key influencers in the US government that decide the fate of the NSA suddenly become victims of a positive psychosis, and no longer want the agency to conduct warrantless mass surveillance. Moreover, they want to atone for their sins, and decide to direct the agency towards using its resources in pursuits that would most benefit the United States, if not mankind at large.

What would be such pursuits?


closed as off-topic by a CVn Jan 28 '15 at 9:29

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  • "Questions about Idea Generation are off-topic because they tend to result in list answers with no objective means to compare the quality of one answer with the others. For more information, see What's wrong with idea-generation questions?." – a CVn
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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ While still spying on enemies and protecting national secrets? $\endgroup$ – Euphoric Jan 28 '15 at 7:42
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Hi Dan. This might very well be an interesting question, but as it stands, I don't see any way to objectively judge answers on how well they answer the question. I recommend that you edit the question to either narrow it down, or to add criteria on how answers can be judged. See How would humanity enter a Dark Age? for a recent example of a question that went through such a cycle and, in my opinion at least, ended up quite good (and certainly much better). $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jan 28 '15 at 9:31
  • $\begingroup$ NSA's computing resources are mostly dedicated to storage and managing that storage. I'm not sure they can bring anything to bear other than massive storage that can't be had cheaper in the Amazon cloud. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Oct 11 '18 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ @pojo-guy: how about employing their crypto engineers towards solving some of the scalability problems with Ethereum or Bitcoin? $\endgroup$ – Dan Dascalescu Oct 13 '18 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ Bitcoin has bigger problems than scalability, but those problems would be right up the crypto engineers specialty. Not familiar enough with etherium to comment. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Oct 13 '18 at 6:56

Look at some of the existing crowd computing projects. Protein folding came immediately to mind as having mass benefit to many people. But look at the available projects for ideas and see which of those are beneficial in the way you have in mind. If it's a good idea, it's probably already being worked on via volunteers.


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