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Carl Wiens
Blinded by Science
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I knew who Magnus Pyke was before his rants of Science! set the tone for Thomas Dolby's ubercheesy techno pop smash hit. He was a panelist on the show Don't Ask Me. Hey, I'm a science geek.
The age of the gentleman scientist has passed, but there are like-minded individuals toiling away in relative obscurity, observing the world around them, taking notes and filling sketchbooks. I spent my formative years collecting insects and keeping a journal of sketches of the creatures I saw in the wooded ravine behind my house. That experience, and the observational skills it involved, laid the groundwork for a budding young illustrator. You have to have a boundless curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.
I had the chance to illustrate a cover for University of California, Berkeley's College of Engineering magazine Forefront.

Forefront used an illustration on the cover for the first time. Kudos to designer Alissar Rayes, who I worked with on the cover and inside layout. I also worked with Silas Pandoori and Todd Edmonds at Iron design, creating the cover for Cornell University's Connections. Another first-time use of a fullly illustrated cover.
When I went to University, my two favourite courses were Biology and Art History. At the time, I would have happily chose a career in either field. Art won out. I still love doing these assignments, being an illustrator exposes me to so many different ideas, concepts and theories.

The article for Stanford discusses artificial intelligence. It is an interesting look at using technology to diffuse complex and dangerous strategies and conflicts. Alissar nailed this layout contrasting a photograph of the scientist featured in the article with the illustration I created. They do look alike!
I followed up the cover illustration with inside spots based on the three main factors upon which human intelligence is based: learning, knowledge, and reasoning. Developing artificial intelligence requires an incorporation of all of these elements.

I know that computers are becoming more and more sophisticated and that we are fast approaching the time when artificial intelligence matches wits with users on a day-to-day basis. Programming a computer to play chess is one thing, but when the day comes that my computer suddenly cracks a joke that makes me laugh, I will throw it out the window. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the one thing everybody really can't stand is a smart-ass.


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