(You can also download the boring, conventional version here.)
I was born in a small town in upstate New York, on June 21st, 1991, to a middle-class family. My childhood was relatively uneventful.
In 2003, when I was 11, I discovered the technological Singularity after doing a Google search for Graham’s Number, the largest number ever used in a mathematical proof. I also discovered a large number of related concepts, such as cryonics, molecular nanotechnology, mind uploading and transhumanism. I’ve been fascinated with all of these ideas, and their potential for both creation and destruction, ever since.
When I was 12, I took the SAT as part of a program by Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth. My score was 790 Math, 680 Verbal, which was the highest in all of New York State for my age. A year later, I enrolled in Union College, a local liberal-arts college, and got A’s in three calculus courses there, while continuing to attend middle school. During the spring of 2005 (when I was 13), Union College agreed to admit me as a full-time, undergraduate student. Unfortunately, since Union was a private college without a good financial aid program, I could not go there due to lack of funding, and enrolled in the local public high school.
Over the next three years, while I was in high school, I took classes from numerous different colleges, including Stanford University, Syracuse University, and the State University of New York at Albany. Over the summers, I participated in the Center for Talented Youth summer program at Siena College, the Computer Game Development Academy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the High School Summer College program at Stanford University. I also took eight Advanced Placement exams, earning six perfect “5”s and two “4”s, was a finalist at the 2006 National Chemistry Olympiad and competed in the 2007 National Science Bowl. I graduated from high school on June 13th, 2008.
Over the summer of 2008, I was hired by the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence as a Research Associate, as part of the Uncertain Future world modeling project. I assisted with writing, programming, and Internet research, and with the help of many of my extremely intelligent, kind and capable colleagues, we successfully launched the first version of the project in November 2009. We also presented a paper on our modeling methodology at the 2009 European Conference on Computing and Philosophy in Barcelona, Spain.
In August 2008, at age 17, I matriculated as an undergraduate at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an engineering college in Troy, NY. While there, I took junior-level math and physics courses, earning a GPA of 3.9. I also did programming, research, and technical writing work for the Center for Infrastructure and Transportation Studies and the Physical Metallurgy and Computational Microstrucutre Laboratory, was named a “Meritorious Winner” at the national Mathematical Contest in Modeling, and was inducted into Pi Mu Epsilon, the national mathematics honors society. During my year at RPI, I gave two academic conference talks, one at the 2008 Meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis on quantifying global risks, and one on the history of AI at the Second Annual Conference for Artificial General Intelligence. At the end of the year, I was admitted to Yale University as a transfer student.
During the summer of 2009, I started an Internet company called EpicNight with Rich Przekop, a Project Manager at Slide, and Graham Beatty, a Financial Analyst at LaSalle Investment Management. Unfortunately, due to events beyond my control, the company has since failed. I also helped to organize, and administered the website for, the 2009 Singularity Summit, which was held in New York, NY on October 3rd.
Since matriculating at Yale, I have continued my studies of mathematics, economics, and history, and won first place with a perfect score in the NES/MAA 2009 Collegiate Mathematics Competition. I have also begun writing for H+ Magazine, edited by writer and talk show host RU Sirius, and my article “The Top 5 Technology Panics of 2009” was featured on Slashdot.
During the summer of 2010, I was hired as a research consultant at KurzweilAI.net, doing journalism, research, writing, editing, programming, bug-fixing, site design, statistics, and whatever else was needed. I also became the first non-founder employee at Stik.com, a software startup funded by Tim Draper that connects people to services from top professionals in their social network. Me, Humanity+ Chairman David Orban, and H+ Magazine Editor R.U. Sirius re-launched H+ Magazine, now published by Humanity+. I continued in my organizing and web administration/design role for the Singularity Summit 2010, held in San Francisco on August 14th and 15th.
In August 2010, shortly before returning to Yale, I was elected to the Board of Directors of Humanity+, the world’s leading nonprofit for the ethical use of technology to extend human capabilities. I have since been appointed the organization’s Program Coordinator, and continue to work with Humanity+ on a wide variety of interesting projects, including the Humanity+ @ Caltech conference, H+ Magazine, the Humanity+ Press and events by Humanity+ chapters.