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Hi I'm David

I have five kids. I research artificial intelligence at MIT. I follow Jesus Christ. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I really do study artificial intelligence. I try to answer questions about the nature of intelligence, what it means to learn, and how our brain does the amazing things it does. Then I try to program computers to do the same thing. It's a unique privilege, and it happens to be a lot of fun. But that's just my job. Much more important to me is my family -- I really do have five little kids. We like family movie night, with popcorn, milkshakes, and dancing to the end credits. We like family dinners and bedtime stories. We like going to church, swinging on swings in the park, and cooking homemade pizza. Oh, and fliparoos. You may not have heard of those. That's where I put on the William Tell Overture, lie on my back, and use my legs to flip the kids over my head as fast as I can onto a strategically placed beanbag. Kids flying! Trumpets blaring! Screams of laughter! The occassional collision! A sprawled out, exhausted pile of kids at the end! MIT is great. But fliparoos? That's happiness.

Why I am a Mormon

I don't believe that to have faith is to believe in something arbitrarily. I am a Mormon because I know it is true, and I know it is true because of converging evidence, from scriptures, from prophets, and from a continual flow of answered prayers. My studies into the brain, what it means to learn, the nature of intelligence and the exquisite capabilities of man only confirm to me what an ancient prophet once said: "All things denote there is a God!" The more I learn, the more I understand that God lives, that we are His children, and that He hears and answers our prayers. And the more I learn, the more impressed I am by Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Mormon church. My prayers have been answered. My mind has been expanded. My faith has been strengthened. My understanding has been deepened. How can I not believe?

How I live my faith

As someone who is married, has five kids, happens to be conservative, and who is deeply religious, I sometimes feel like I don't fit in well with my peers. But I feel the blessings of heaven support and strengthen me as I try to do what is right - balancing church, family and a demanding research agenda. Somehow it all gets done, but I know that it's not me: I am thankful for God's mercy and bounty in my life.

What is faith?

To have faith is to move forward in the face of doubt. Belief is built up from experience and evidence, but when our beliefs are are about important things -- like whether or not God lives, or whether or not we should keep the commandments -- challenges will come to them. When those challenges come, we must learn to remember what we have seen and felt, and draw on it to move forward. We must have faith in God. We will eventually meet God, and then our faith will turn to knowledge. But we must also have faith in the principles of the gospel, which we can never see. We must believe in justice and mercy. We must believe that keeping the commandments is the right thing to do. And we must believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior. God helps us believe in these things by giving us core experiences with them. To have faith is to remember those core stories, and to act on them. And as we act on them, we will understand them better, and God will give us more experience with them, helping us align our life even more in an ever-increasing cycle. Show more Show less