My journey to my first TEDx has been a long one. It has taken 33 years to get a chance to make a contribution worth spreading.

One afternoon when I was 11 and looking at the curtains of my bedroom, I felt my thoughts gaining a whole new dimension, and allowing me to consciously observe myself looking at the curtains. I couldn’t describe it and told no one, but 2 years later my dad said in passing that I had only had 2 conscious years so I shouldn’t think I already knew everything. He had noticed my metacognition!

When I was 12 I suffered a severe head injury, which sent me to intensive care for 2 weeks, and left me unable to concentrate for 2 years. I had been a good student and so I had to compensate. I read 3 different books on the same subject to get a “stereoscopic picture” of it because I couldn’t just learn the textbook. I made it into the top high school and graduated with honors.

My self-observational skills were a double-edged sword in college: while I managed to write an essay about how I perceived the world that got me into a top university, at one point I found myself on probation. I constantly under-performed for years, always starting new things to run away from anxiety, and never quite finishing anything.

6 years ago, having regained mental control, I decided to focus the rest of my career on 3 broad areas: intelligence, ecosystems, and Space. A look back to my boyhood revealed that these interests had persisted throughout my troubled years. My TEDx talk will be on the significant recent traction on a project in the first area: creating an artificial general intelligence to help humans learn efficiently.

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