I’m walking down the street on the way to the library in Green Bay. It’s 80 degrees , the air is still and so humid that it feels like it is pressing in on me. I got up late this morning. It was so hot last night that my wife and I delayed going to bed. No air conditioning. As I look around, the stillness and lack of people outside make it appear that I am walking in a scene from the Twilight Zone. What time is it? I am not connected to any job, to any other people. The backpack digs into my shoulders, heavy with my job, my life. This is what it takes to create a breakthrough in artificial intelligence – a laptop computer, a 3 ring binder filled with my text, diagrams and pages of scribbling about to be transferred to a Word document, a programming book to work on later, and my lunch.
It occurs to me how disconnected from the lives of typical people I am. It’s not certain if my project will succeed. No one knows if the design I am creating will work, how well it will work, and if I can make any money from it if it does. Yet, here I am, walking. I choose to go for it, and there is no safety net.
I don’t care if some people think it won’t work, if I have no support. I don’t care that the government spends millions of dollars on projects from university researchers based on the fact that they have a degree and can write a good proposal. Yet it spends nothing to fund development of products that will make a real difference if the people involved are too independent and creative to imprison themselves in the academic and corporate molds. My idea will be earth-shaking, disruptive, a breakthrough, a real advance in artificial intelligence. It will make possible a huge new variety of wonderful never-before conceived products that make use of visual object recognition. I am as single-minded and focused as a terrier quick-stepping down the street, head pointing straight ahead, eyes forward, looking neither right nor left. I might have uncertainty and temporary doubts flitting through my consciousness, but they are escorted back out straightaway. The main drive is to make it happen. Every day. Persistence. Every week. Determination. Every month. Design, write it down, create Visio diagrams, explain it in Word documents, write the next version of the program to test it out. Keep making headway. Keep upping my understanding of how the brain does it functions, of how I can simulate that with a design that is the foundation of a computer program.I am at the library now. It’s air conditioned. The computer is plugged in. I am transferring the notes from the papers I created the past week into diagrams and documents. I am moving forward. I am working on it now, the best time to get anything important done. It will happen.