Better world engineering (2) – Intro – The Minecraft Philosophy

Human-being are commonly known to shift their eating habits to more agricultural based according to the history. From those ages when hunting and gathering were necessary to keep your love ones fed and alive, the lifestyle of be able to feed many more without risking a life going into the jungle. Human had been trying to make the life easier for themselves and the people around them. The discovery and evolvement of the starch-rich potato farming technique is also commonly recognised to have direct impact on the the boost in human populations. If life is a game, farming is the ultimate cheat-code.

The rise of the game Minecraft has been phenomenal. Originate from the idea of mining minerals in an procedurally generate world, to a children’s game with vibrant  colours, and finally arrived at a point to support 3D world creations in a creative ways. People had spend countless hours building worlds, some of them depicted franchise we love, cities in the lord of rings, the game of thrones and Star war, all of them have a blocky-version represented in Minecraft. Often, multiple people spend a ridiculous numbers of hours to create a Dead Star, not because they are paid nor asking people anything in return. They do it because they love it and they understand these hours they are going to spend are only once and for all. Meaning once the project is completed, it will literally be a result that is long lasting, nearly forever for the people who love their works to enjoy. The concept of permanent creation already sounds awfully familiar to the original intention of agricultural development in the human history.

For those aren’t familiar in Minecraft as a game, there is a system in Minecraft called redstone mechanics. The best way to describe it is that redstone me is a Minecraft block representation of logic-gates in electronic in real life. Electronic logic-gates is what make computer electronic possible in the first place. Enthusiasts have succeed in the redstone mechanics to create calculator, clocks, and even a 16-bit computer!

Now for those who aren’t caught up with multiplayer settings of Minecraft, there are communities which dedicate to creative builds and doing it in survival mode instead of creative mode. Meaning that building resources are limited, so as food items and any consumables. This is how the specialist of “food-farm”, later on item farm, emerged. These people make use of redstone mechanics and to create systems that “farm” and collect renewable items. The question is a simple but a milestone in human history: How to build a system to infinitely create a particular resource, building it once, to supply the need of everyone on the same server, and so no one would ever have to do it in the future?

Technological advancements we have today is already capable of “farming” of many resources with full automations, so as the automation of the resource chain all the way to raw materials that consumed in the farming process, and also the automation of recycling the waste and byproducts. Most of the goods we see today can mostly be produced fully automated, but this is not the case in actual production because two things gets in the way: the need of profit and the unwilling to do it once and for all. All because the wrong question was asked: how to build a system to create a predefined quantity of product, with lowest periodic input, and to maximise the profit.

Our motivations inspire our questions, the questions drive our discoveries, our discoveries enable us to build systems and foundations that shapes our lives. What lifestyles are we building when we change our question to: 

What do I need to maximise my profit?

from the original: 

What do I need to invent once and for all to supply enough food and the tailored transportation system so that no one will ever be hungry again?

In my line of work, as a software architect, I witnessed the many crossroads of creating a better inventions that benefits the user against a version for better profit / doing it passively by engaging the user for longer time. The food industry is one of the most infamous to make people eat things that do not benefit them the most, so as the many other industries. We constantly joke around to say, no one is willing to invent near-unlimited power that doesn’t breakdown because the inventor will be assassinated immediately by big corporations who prey on the power bills. In a world driven by profit, our world, it might not be too far from truth.

What do we need to do it once and for all to supply enough resources for our love ones, which should be defined as everyone, so work will forever be an optional task, and people just need to do what they like to do and only?

Right questions, right answers, one solution at a time, one article at a time – collectively.


The content will be updated and modified continuously. Feedbacks are welcome for any improvement and addressing any inaccuracy.

Copyright © Marco S.I. Leong, 2018