In August a young girl led her family in prayer over a meal at Chick-fil-A. While this is not an uncommon sight in Texas, she began the ritual with “Dear Alexa.” Earlier this year, Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, began randomly laughing, unsettling many users. Eight years ago my friend John Benini began working on the world’s first AI “CogniToy” Dino with the support of IBM Watson. When working the project John informed me that yes, indeed, kids ask the green dinosaur anything.

The time of talking machines and talking to machines is here. As software engineers, our paradigm of…


My friend Margaret Anderson, whom I had met through a meditation group, had invited me to attend a special event at the New Musuem. Margaret is one of those wonderful people who are devoted to listening, helping others and a peaceful spirit that is contagious. Just three months before she had agreed to co-produce a show with me and her creativity and passion for theater — something she had never worked with — was a huge success.

The event started on December 12, 2014 and I had no idea what to expect. When a short documentary film about all the…


It would be a special day for any new software engineer: the day I customized my bash profile for the command line. I opened my terminal, typed in atom .bash_profile and then changed my local character in the function prompt to my favorite emoji: 🧙🏻‍♂️. Then boom:

A broken bash. I sacked the Wizard and went for the Woman Mage:


What exactly is the difference between interpreting and compiling languages?

As a beginner software engineer, I enjoyed working with Swift in Apple’s Xcode. Errors and warning messages would appear immediately after mistakes were made, the console printed all my function returns as they were typed and program execution was “swift”.

When I began working with Ruby in Atom’s text editor, I was terrified that suddenly all my red flags and caution signs were gone and I could literally type anything with no sense of the danger that lay ahead. More often (and more sinister), I could add an extra ‘p’…

Russell Patrick Brown

software engineer, web developer & embodied technologist

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