Interact is a fellowship for people who "think deeply about the role and opportunity of technology in society. Many of my favorite people are part of it.

Unlike my college application essays, my Interact app felt authentic to me. Hopefully I'll get to join the cool kids club this year.

What are your three core interests and why do you care about these things?

Music emerges from patterns being layered on top of one another; motifs, harmony, and phrases combining to create something beautiful. The way these patterns evolve and work together feels organic, like they're all communicating with one another. Similarly, the world is made up of patterns: people, relationships, infrastructure, and companies all communicating and interacting with each other in harmony.

I love making, listening, sharing, and dancing to music because it allows me to study and experiment with patterns in a way that feels like a microcosm of the larger patterns in the world.

Cooking with others is a way to collaborate in the act of creation. Cooking for others is a way to show my love and bring joy to the people I care about.

Computer graphics lets me turn systems into art. When I learn a new theory of how terrain, plants, or cities evolve I can turn this abstract knowledge into something real.

Some shared traits of music, cooking, and graphics that I enjoy

  • Duality: they all exist at the meeting point of science and art
  • Creation: they result in the creation of artifacts that can be shared and appreciated.
  • Universality: there's something primal in people that finds joy in these things, yet there's plenty to learn which leads to new forms of appreciation
  • Collaboration: making things with people is delightful, and is something I'd like to do lots of with the friends I make in Interact

What has been the biggest change to your beliefs or values in the past two years, and what caused this change?

Throughout high school I was largely focused on myself. Studying AI, learning programming languages, building projects on my own, and trying to get internships.

I now care much more about bringing fun and delight to others.

In the past year I've had some wonderful people enter my life who have brought delight to me and others around them. Natasha (a co-worker) will order you meals when you're sick and ice cream when you're sad -- she's always thinking of something kind she can do for a friend, or even somebody she's just met. Anson (a friend) will be there for you when you're going through tough times, even when she has a million other things in her life going on.

These two people frequently appear in my pantheon of role models. Thinking “what would Anson / Natasha do?” has led me to fly to a friend's farm a day after hearing that they needed help and had nobody else nearby, to check in on and cook for friends who were feeling terrible after getting vaccinated, and to buy a guitar for a friend who mentioned in passing that they were short on cash.

One of the things that excites me most about Interact is that I've heard through friends that the community has a similar ethos of proactive kindness.

Who would you be the most excited to find out was in Interact? Why?

Aadil is an amazing, funny, and kind person -- but he's been having a rough time in the pandemic induced semi-isolation in Canada. In the past he's thrived in communities of young people, and I think Interact's community of young technologists would be great for him.

I'm worried that he'll procrastinate and won't apply, so I've been messaging him to make sure he completes his application on time. I think others in Interact will be grateful to have him join the group.

In what ways are you looking to grow personally?

I'd like to form more close friendships this year -- having people that I feel emotionally and intellectually close to makes life so much more satisfying.

I'd like to get better at proactively bringing people together to create art -- I enjoy working with others and jamming on music together, but I've yet to do many projects that span weeks and result in artifacts that we're proud of.

I'd like to approach life with more of a spring in my step, creating memories and adventures with friends where otherwise there'd be “the usual”. I admire people who bring energy to a group instead of just matching it, and lately I've been emulating this by inviting friends over for dinner, and taking them with me to concerts and on skateboard journeys to explore the city. I'd like to organize more bonfires / hikes / dinner parties / picnics over the next year.

What project or initiative were you proudest of in 2021? What is your primary creative, academic, or work goal for 2022?

In 2021 I'm most proud of the work I did at Numerai. Over the past ~year I've left college, started working full-time, and learned so much. If I had to pick a project I'm most proud of it would be my research work, but that seems hard to fit into 100 words.

The project I'm (second) most proud of would be hiring. When I'm in an interview assessing a candidate, it's easy to leave them out to dry when they get stuck or lost, and over the past year I've gotten much better at helping the person show off the best aspects of themselves without compromising on veracity. I enjoy how intentionally bringing out the best in others has carried over to my personal relationships.

In 2022, I'd like to create an album of orchestral film music that I'm proud of. I've dabbled in making electronic, hip-hop, and solo piano music in the past, but they're all relatively simple arrangements.

To me the beauty of music lies in a multitude of patterns communicating with one another, and the defining trait of an orchestra is the great number of instruments each with their own character and range of patterns.

Right now I'm reading books on harmony and counterpoint, writing short pieces of music to practice these concepts, and studying orchestral scores of music that inspire me. This year I hope to have created music that feels at home alongside my favorite composers.