I watch a lot of TV. That's how I spend most of my time outside of work. If I had more time, I would fill it 100 percent with watching TV.
Basically, I want to make all of humanity more efficient by exploiting the human cycles that get wasted.
As humanity goes online, it's becoming an extremely advanced, large-scale processing unit.
Game design is a funny thing. There are people out there who are really good at it, but it's not clear that they can teach it. It's a very intuitive process. It's an art.
My first computer was a Commodore 64. I got it as a present from my mom when I was eight years old, and all I wanted to do with that computer was play games.
I definitely play some games, like Nintendo D.S. or the Wii, and some computer games.
When I found out that I had won the MacArthur Fellowship, I had been a professor at Carnegie Mellon for a week. I probably shouldn't be saying this on TV, but I stopped worrying about tenure.
People are good at figuring out what's attractive, and computers are good at quickly searching and finding. You put them together, and bang!
Our team at Duolingo is really cohesive, but this did not just happen. I made a concerted effort to hire people who are going to play nice.
Science fiction has done a really good job of scaring us into thinking that computers shouldn't get too smart, because as soon as they get really smart, they're going to take over the world and kill us, or something like that. But why would they do that?
Am I a slacker? I can be a slacker. When I was in college, most people got summer jobs for college or did research during college. I went home and watched TV the whole day for three months; it was really awesome.
I have multiple ideas per day, all the time. The vast majority of these are completely idiotic. Usually, I just sit on the idea for several months. And if I have not decided that it's idiotic, then it's... might be a good idea.
The basic idea of Games With a Purpose is that we are taking a problem that computers cannot yet solve, and we are getting people to solve it for us while they are playing a game.
I put a lot of weight on feelings and am weirdly in touch with them, which is not typical for an engineer.
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