JOIN: Fabio Mascarenhas

From: Fabio Mascarenhas (
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 23:26:31 MDT

Hi everybody,

After two messages I guess I should send a JOIN message. :-)

Well, I'm a twenty-one years old computer science student at Universidade
Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, graduating this semester. I've
been around computers since I was ten (started with an uncle's Apple II I
found gathering dust in a closet). Also I've always had an interest in
Mathematics (I was already studying trigonometry and basic calculus when I
was nine years old). But when the time came for me to choose a major I took
Computer Science, where I thought I would apply all my skills with abstract
thought and problem solving in something useful. :-)

And how did I get interested in AI? Well, the first Science Fiction I came
against was Arthur Clarke's... so the first time I saw HAL I was fascinated.
Could computers ever do that? Could they ever be as intelligent as us? These
were questions I hoped I could have an answer! But other matters sidetracked
me through most of my undergraduate studies, so AI faded into background. I
don't regret it! I've picked other interests that are probably very
important, too, Distributed Systems and Programming Languages. Got a taste
of academic life, too, as a research student.

Then, four months ago, while taking AI class (just basic stuff: search
trees, LISP, Prolog, Minimax, this stuff..., but what a coincidence :-) ) I
came across "The Singularity". Well, it seemed pretty far-fetched (after
all, AI was still just a distant dream of computer scientists for me), but
plausible after AI came. I decided to subscribe to this list to check it

A couple months later I stumbled into Webmind. Now this was something! They
had actual code, it seemed! I tried to understand the pages at Webmind
Inc.'s website, but they were a little vague (for a computer scientist, at
least :-) ). Since then I've started reading Ben Goertzel's books (thanks
for putting then online, Ben, I will sure buy "From Complexity to
Creativity" as soon as I have the money!), trying to piece this puzzle,
while of course monitoring Eliezer's work. I hope I can contribute after
graduation! Maybe with Webmind, now that I know it has a pretty large
brazilian team in Belo Horizonte! (I may be living there next semester)

I don't take the singularity as 100% certain in the near future, but just
human-level AI will make me very happy, and if I can do anything to help I
most certainly will!

Well, that was pretty long. :-) Before Eliezer gets worried, I've already
read all the list archives, so won't be asking any questions already
answered. And will try to post only when I'm absolutely sure of what I am

Fabio Mascarenhas

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