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 revolutionary, 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?
Founder and CEO
A trained biochemist who later became a computer scientist, Richard Bovell worked as a software engineer for nearly 12 years, until he founded Bov Academy of Programming in 2015; the software engineering academy arose out of his popular programming blog.
He launched the Academy to train ordinary people to become elite software engineers and improve their economic standing; and he also sought to recruit talented engineers and acquire the technical resources needed to bring to reality Phase 1 of his exhaustive plan to eradicate poverty on a global scale and usher in real global prosperity.
Richard was born in Guyana and emigrated to the United States in his teens, after spending a year at the University of Guyana, the country’s only university. An avid academic and athlete, at the high-school level, he played cricket, soccer, basketball, and table tennis, and he specialized in high jump and long jump in track and field. He went on to graduate at the top of his class academically in high school at 15 years of age, but he was too young to attend the university and had to wait nearly two years to begin his premed studies. While he waited to reach the admissible age to attend the university, he was fortunate to land a middle-income job as an accountant at the country's state-owned oil company.
A Guyanese American for more than two decades now and an avid golfer (a 7-handicap during a good season and an 11-handicap during an average season), Richard credits golf, the most difficult sport he claims there is to play, as both kryptonite to his perfectionist inclination and therapy to his overactive mind.
Education and sports have defined much of Richard’s life. Sports defined his teenage years, as his love for the many sports he played kept him completely occupied during the hours when many of his close friends and peers, mired in poverty and with nothing constructive to do (no jobs, no computer, no Internet, no video games), continually found themselves in a life of idleness, crime, or alcohol or drug abuse. Sports have also helped Richard keep in both mental and physical shape throughout his life.
With first-hand experience and a wealth of knowledge concerning the proven benefits of sports—in cognitive fluidity, physical fitness, mental health, and social togetherness—Richard has incorporated sports as a significant part of AI Humanity’s extensive solution to end poverty. Sports will also be used to improve the mental and physical health of the unprosperous, young and old alike, and to improve the camaraderie of adults in the same communities as well as between groups and cultures of people.
In his book The 65%, Richard writes:
Humanity has not sufficiently exploited the powerful capacity of organized recreational sports (or physical activity) to keep us mentally and cognitively and physically adept, to build camaraderie and togetherness at our jobs and in our communities, to heal the many ailments and social afflictions that plague human societies, and to help heal divisions among groups and cultures. We know sports can resolve all of these matters, likely more effectively than other interventions can.
Education defines Richard's postsecondary-school years—with his strong interest in science and his study of multidisciplinary subjects—as detailed in the section His Pursuit of Deep Knowledge and AI Humanity’s Multidisciplinary Solutions, below. Additionally, it was education that plucked him out of poverty and dropped him comfortably into the upper middle class, almost overnight.
The transformative power of education—"rewarding education, not just any education," as Richard puts it—to move a person from poverty to economic prosperity in little time and from powerlessness to empowerment, influenced Richard to incorporate "rewarding education" as the single most important component of AI Humanity's comprehensive plan to end poverty.
Hatred for the Tragedy of Poverty
The one thing Richard has always hated more than anything else is poverty, as he himself was poor during the early years after his arrival in the United States. He writes:
I hate poverty more than everything else because I know of its deep and long devastations. It is made worse when you know you are poor—reminded each day through the ever-present humiliations and unrelenting stress. I have suffered from poverty’s unique capacity to make humans hopeless and powerless, vulnerable and pitiful, often cognitively deficient, and perpetually tormented. Worse still, the day-to-day torment and lifelong miseries eventually subdue the poor into an overworked, unaccomplished remnant of their true human potential—left robbed of their dreams and their humanity.
Further, he discovered through his research that an unprosperous person’s day-to-day existence is far more tragic than he had realized, and worse than many of the unprosperous themselves know, and certainly more harrowing than most people, especially the very rich, are aware. He writes:
Most of the poor live a life of ceaseless scarcity that impairs their cognitive capacity, mental health, physical health, and decision making, and they live at the mercy of the wealthy and powerful inside and outside their poor communities. These poor serve, in fact, as the life blood upon which many of the rich, sometimes in far-away countries, derive much of their wealth, typically unbeknown to many of the rich themselves.
As detailed further below, Richard’s breadth of research has also led him to discover that, surprisingly, the poor themselves are often barriers to their own economic success, an actuality to which they are largely unaware.
He has witnessed poverty’s wretchedness ravish his community and its people and other communities and their people near and far, in decades past and even more vividly today.
Richard believes that the horrors of poverty cannot be overstated and its solutions cannot be underestimated, and that neither the horrors nor the solutions have, perhaps, ever been fully appreciated or understood by many experts in the West—particularly those who offer to developing countries unfair trade policies and predatory loans with impossible-to-repay compound interest rates. Also implicated are those who derive considerable wealth (legally and illegally) from poor countries and give back only a fraction as charity, and who spend hundreds of billions "solving" the problem of poverty each year—even as the number of unprosperous in their own country and in developing countries continues to rise.
A different approach is urgently needed, Richard believes, and this realization drives him to make the difference he wants to see and knows the unprosperous deserve.
Inspired by the Poor and the Rich
Yet, Richard observes, with much delight and optimism, in spite of all the horrors and miseries and scarcities of poverty, the poor, as anyone who lives among them or works with them quickly discovers, are some of the most kindhearted and altruistic and welcoming people you may ever encounter. And even when they have absolutely nothing to give they still find a way to give. Richard noted that his mom, for example, would give her last $5 or make an outfit for free for any family member or stranger who is in need and ask her for help, even when helping someone else is practically impossible for her and would result in her having to ask for help herself. This stunning reality, common among the poor, helped to inspire Richard’s appreciation for the poor and his passion for solving poverty.
Relatedly, Richard was also surprised when he discovered that many rich Americans are also benevolent, more altruistic than the poor know and than many people appreciate. Consider that Americans gave to charities an estimated $410.02 Billion in 2017 (in a single year), and the donations increase almost every year. The total was $358.38 Billion in 2014, $379.89 Billion in 2015, and $390.05 Billion in 2016. These altruistic efforts mean much to Richard and help to explain his optimism for humanity’s inevitable triumph over poverty in our generation.
He knew he needed a radical plan and a team of compassionate and relentless and dedicated people to take on what seemed an insurmountable challenge, the resolution of poverty. In the Decades of Distress—and Passion and Responsibility to Solve Poverty section below, learn more about Richard and how he endured distress and eventually found the courage and confidence to commit his life to solve poverty.
Role at AI Humanity
As AI Humanity’s CEO, Richard focuses primarily on formulating comprehensive strategies, policies, and solutions to solve poverty and help the unprosperous realize prosperity; on inspiring and advancing individuals and groups and cultures of people; on creating specifications for AI Humanity’s software solutions and the UI/UX for those solutions; on helping to heal the conflicts between groups, tribes, and cultures; on edifying the unprosperous in areas where edification is essential for individual and group advancement and success; on creating innovative solutions that will help all of humanity use some of its scarce resources (including food and energy) more efficiently; and on helping to create a realistic utopic experience for all of humanity.
Further, he assists in many capacities since AI Humanity is an infant startup with a small team and Richard has experience and expertise in a variety of areas.
In addition to his obligations as CEO, Richard is also writing many books related to AI Humanity’s work. Three will be published sometime around fall 2019, and four others will be published in 2020. Go to the Our Books page for details on the books. These publications serve a crucial part of AI Humanity’s complete solution for solving poverty and for providing the unprosperous with realistic paths to economic success.