Jim took an early interest in art, mostly through pencil drawings of jets, landscapes, and cartoon characters. He also began disassembling machines to understand how they worked from a young age. He even occasionally put them back together with very few parts left over.
Jim learned to program in the late 80s. Reflecting his early interest in artificial intelligence, he made the dubious choice of Turbo Prolog as his first programming language because it was popular in the AI community.
Jim pursued a Bachelor of Science degree at Stevens Institute of Technology. He dropped out after a few years to pursue a career in the burgeoning World Wide Web industry of the early 90s, a pioneer in a time when there were no university courses in the subject.
In his decades as a programmer, Jim has returned periodically to his passion for artificial intelligence. From 2004 to 2009, he maintained an AI blog to feature his amateur research, highlight other interesting AI news, and opine on the future of AI.
Around the time Jim stopped blogging on AI, he started thinking about writing fictional accounts based on his ideas about AI. In discussing AI with friends and colleagues, he found that there was widespread skepticism. Most people seem to believe that the idea of a machine as intelligent as a human -- let along smarter -- is as fictional as the idea of a wizard school.
Those who do believe in the "strong AI hypothesis" often seem to believe we are already there now, falling for the wild claims and anthropomorphic creations of companies trying to sell gadgets. Jim believes that to help foster the development of AI, it would help to popularize it again. Better to do so by examining plausible depictions of a world in which they are ubiquitous and also of the transition to it.
Jim very recently discovered that one of his early sci fi influences was a puzzle that hung on his wall for much of his childhood titled "Verticalville" (see poem). He spent many hours imagining life inside a single-building city (AKA, "arcology) like this.
Jim has had a lifelong interest in philosophy, economics, politics, history, and generally the sciences. These interests very much inform the VoH world.