Ordinary people helping ordinary people do extraordinary things
Do you believe in the capacity of a small group of ordinary individuals to lead the effort for transformative, global change, as has happened time and again throughout history? And do you believe in your own capacity to accomplish extraordinary things with audacious, passionate, relentless effort?
Jorge Rafael Garcia
Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela and later migrated to Barcelona, Spain, Rafael became interested in technology and computers since he was seven years of age, when he first placed his hands on a keyboard.
Once he realized he could ask the computer any question and get an answer, he became mesmerized. But after graduating from high school, he was indecisive about what career to pursue in college. Although he liked mostly science subjects, particularly math and physics, he decided on civil engineering, which he studied during his first year of college, and then switched to electronics engineering for two years. It was during this period that he rediscovered his love of programming while taking a course in the C programming language.
Since then, Rafael has trained himself to become a professional programmer, eventually enrolling in Bov Academy of Programming to advanced his programming skills and career. It was at Bov Academy that Rafael completely dedicated himself to his programming studies and proved his perseverance and expertise among the more than 100 students in his cohort, eventually being recognized for his meticulous work ethic and subsequently being recruited to join the AI Humanity software engineering team.
Role at AI Humanity
Rafael started off as skilled frontend engineer, but has since migrated to backend engineering because of his affinity for pure programming and algorithms and the like. He builds some of AI Humanity’s core software applications, along with the core AI Humanity engineering team.
During his college years, the well known rapidly deteriorating social, political, and economical conditions of his home country significantly impacted Rafael’s life in pernicious ways, just as it did many of his compatriots. He gradually became depressed, but would find solace by climbing almost every day to the top of a small mountain nearby where he lived, and would stay there for many hours in the ambient quiet and comfort of nature, sometimes reading a book, sometimes just thinking and daydreaming.
This escape helped him immensely, as it proved therapeutic for the stressful situations that were ongoing in his country and in his personal life. Unfortunately, the dire circumstances of the country closed in ever stronger on Rafael and his family. And when he was given the chance to move out of Venezuela, even though he would have liked to stay to graduate from the university he was attending, he had to take the chance to get out, especially since his prospects for succeeding in Venezuela became ever starker, ever darker.
While in Barcelona, Rafael decided to become a self-taught programmer. The process was challenging in the beginning, but he was able to develop his grit and slowly learned enough to get his first junior programming job, an accomplishment that brought him much satisfaction, as he proudly shares:
When I got paid for my first job, it felt as if I had just breathed fresh air for the first time. This served as good fuel for my grit and I became even more determined to keep pushing and learning until I could get a good job as a programmer. It was as this time that I decided to join Bov Academy, to become a good programmer and get a good programming job.
Philosophical Thoughts and Poetic Inclinations
Over the years, Rafael has embraced his programming career and has become more relaxed and gained confidence to do other things as well, including the exploration of his fascination with philosophy and psychology; he clues us in:
More recently, I have developed a healthy relationship with my curiosity. I know that I need to feed my mind with different flavors of knowledge and challenges on a daily basis. And even though at times it has become difficult, finding correlations between seemingly unrelated fields is the spark that lights my fire. In order to understand my algorithms, I need to sprinkle them with some poetry. In order to build robust software, I need to read about the things my mind asks of me, mostly psychology and some philosophy, often some fiction and occasionally poetry.
Even though I listen more than I talk, there is nothing I enjoy more than a healthy conversation. There is a state reached between two individuals, during a healthy conversation, in which daring trust dissolves the tethers of the mind and words become a medium by which we thread into the unknown, and through them we discover our inner truths. I believe this is the most valuable thing one can give to the other, and it is the point in which two solitudes meet each other. This is the one thing I love above everything else, and it is as if everything that I do in life is but the negative space that gives shape to this state.
I've noticed many times that there is a particular face that we wear when we are in this state. It is the face of birth and death. It is the face of becoming. It is the face of a universe. And even though I don't exactly what this face means, I know it is the most beautiful thing, the most beautiful face I've ever seen and experienced and continue to see and experience. To the degree that I can help create an environment in which others and I can wear that face with no shame, I'll consider my time on Earth successfully invested.
On the Matter of Solving Poverty
Rafael gives his perspective on poverty, in his own words:
In my opinion, the most important aspect of AI Humanity is the concept of the Nucleus of Humanity. It has been my experience that there is no amount of resources or work that one can give or do to help others if one does not understand what each individual is lacking in order to thrive. To achieve this, I believe, one must foster and develop respect and compassion, rather than condescendence and pity, towards the most unfortunate as towards ourselves.
The fact that AI Humanity is aimed at fostering dignity instead of just tweaking arbitrary measures of "poverty" and "wealth", strikes me as an endeavor both scary—for its titanic proportions—as well as hope-inducing and adventurous, for its noble aim. I believe one cannot induce growth in the world without being in a position to grow, the same way one cannot be a teacher if one has forgotten what it is to learn. I'm happy to join AI Humanity mostly as a learner.
Many years ago, in my early teens, I learned that there were people living in my city of birth who had a quality of life that was worse than if they were to go away and live in the jungle on their own or as cave people somewhere. Rape, theft, and murder were almost acceptable and even seen as natural to some people, something that "just happens". Since then, I've never been able to come to terms with this fact. I cannot understand why a group of humans with a working mind and a pair of hands capable of solving almost any of the problems that life poses to us, have to live in subhuman conditions and behave in subhuman ways.
A world in which some people cannot fulfill their most basic needs in order to engage in the struggle between right and wrong, which gives meaning to our lives, is a world filled with cowardice.
I don’t expect a world without “wrongness.” But I do expect a world where the fight between right and wrong is a dignified fight, not a subhuman one. I want to see a courageous world. And I will do my small part with AI Humanity to make the world a more courageous place.