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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Zebulon's Favorite Place

My son Zebulon (age 13) recently had to write a brief essay for school on "My Favorite Place," as part of a national essay competition. His essay was chosen to represent his school in the county-wide competition. His theme was an amusing one which may resonate with many readers of this blog -- the third paragraph particularly reminds me of myself on some of my more productive days! (But Zeb is not working on AI, he's working on animations, see

My Favorite Place
Zebulon Goertzel

I work my way past all the furniture in my cramped room and sit down at my chair. I see a computer, a laptop. On its screen are pixels. Tiny, stabbing rays of color that drill into my eyes and let me enjoy my computer to no end despite its hideous flaws. The monitor is marked and scarred due to various past and unknown misuses. The dull keyboard is with its regular layout, usable but without an S key. I look at the front disk drive and recall being told not to remove it.

Beside my laptop is my tablet. In its middle-left side is the pen, a gnawed-on, well-used device that is often lost and found in my pocket. The tablet cover is not without scratches, some deep, some light. Each scratch is from a scribble or drawing or line somebody drew. A bright wire links my tablet to the sloppy tangle of wires, connectors and cables which is usually behind my laptop.

My computer’s fan consistently buzz-whirs with high pitch. I am hypnotized as I slowly lean forward, as I grip my tablet pen with sore, almost numb fingers, as I click and click and click. My back is hunched and my neck is out. I work. My eyes ache, but I hardly notice. My stomach is empty, but I try to ignore it. I decide to be done. I get up, stretch, and go to care for myself. My favorite place is my computer, or my desk, because there are no limits to what a computer can do, and my computer fascinates me to no end.


Anonymous said...

Methinks Zeb starts to get studying.

Repeat after me Zeb:

Neuroscience and the Brain and Memory Systems and Pleasure Systems and Emotion Systems and Motor Systems and the Visual Systems

Aesthetics and Beauty and Mathematical Beauty and Sublimity and Creativity and Humor and Personal Emotion

Metaphysics and Platonism and Plotinus and Causality and Ontology and Consciousness and Moral Realism

Physical Chemistry and Chemical Kinetics

Social Psychology and Evolutionary Psychology and the Categorical Imperative and Altruism and Social Emotion and Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism

Symbolic Logic and Propositional Logic and Predicate Logic and 2nd Order Logic and Set Theory and Combinatorics and Godel's Theorem and Graph Theory

Classical Mechanics and Newtonian Mechanics and Lagrangian Mechanics and Hamiltonian Mechanics

Cognitive Psychology and Attention and Memory and Intelligence and Linguistics and Transformational Grammer and the Memory-Prediction Framework and Cognitive Development and the Global Workspace and Information Integration

Algebra and Fields and Groups and Rings and Algorithms and Computability and Complexity and Kolmogrov Complexity and the Church-Turing Thesis

Thermodynamics and the Second Law and Reversible Computing and Chemical Thermodynamics

Decision Theory and Utility and Game Theory

Probability Theory and Probability and Bayes and Bayesian Inference and Bayesian Networks and Markov Chains

IT Hardware and Personal Computers and Super Computers and Robotics and Architectures and Networks and the Internet

Programming and Object Oriented Programming and the the Unified Modelling Language and Java and Multi-threading and Internet Apps and HTML and Operating Systemns and Windows and UNIX and DOS

Non-Classical Logic and Paraconsistent Logic and Fuzzy Logic and Modal Logic and Possibility Theory

Digital Physics and Cellular Automaton and Nano-technology and Virtual reality

Artifical Intelligence and Expert Systems and Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms and Databases and Data mining and SQL

Category Theory is the big finish! ;)


A lot to get through kid. Best you start young ;)

Marc_Geddes said...

SAI awaits. Always with us...