From Vilson Vieira

From campfires to the Internet and why sharing a selfie makes us anxious.

the story behind the creation of Extend AI

Carl Chouinard
Extend AI
Published in
6 min readMar 26, 2019


In what feels, to us, like the very distant past, we once used cutting edge technology to create warmth and security on cold nights-the campfire. A small but comforting halo of light enabling us to see our surroundings while keeping the dangerous creatures at bay, that live beyond the boundary of darkness. Things were all good, minds were at peace, but after a while, the creatures adapted, and people started to go missing again in the morning, stolen from the high-tech halo of light into the darkness.

Innovators of the past, then created the ‘hut’. Things were good inside the hut, except for the unlucky ones that drank water too late in the evening and had to relieve themselves in the surrounding darkness of the hut. Thanks to those civilized minds, toilets were invented not long after.

People started to gather together in larger groups, forming villages surrounded by fences. Things were all good inside the villages, until the day one of them created beer while the other created fried chicken wings. Craving of mixing these two cutting edge culinary technologies led people to travel between villages in the darkness of the night.

Still good people were lost in the chasm of darkness. Over the years, villages grew extending the halo of light into secure cities. With them came the creation of combos. Things were all good inside the cities. Nobody was going missing in the morning anymore, apart from a few souls that abused the combos and were usually found on a park bench not long after sunrise. With less life threatening problems to solve, cities started to explore different areas of the human mind, some exploring art, others sciences, others politics, the most fun ones exploring pleasure. But darkness wasn’t far away.

After the unquestionable benefits to humanity of mixing beer and chicken wings, people knew they had to mix art with science, science with pleasure, pleasure with well, more pleasure. Which meant sending people across cities. Dangerous creatures of the night, after seeing us wearing their fur while dancing like robots, decided we were way to crazy too being attacked. The nature of the darkness changed.

By sending people to other cities, we were now able to get quick flashes of light about what was going on in there. But from the distance, they all felt pretty dark. That darkness expressed itself in different ways. We got into huge wars, way too many good souls were lost. Lots of effort and resources was often poured in solving a problem another city had already solved. Fear from the darkness of the night transformed into the fear of others, not knowing what was going on in the distance.

Cities became countries, the stakes got more serious. Waiting weeks and even months before getting glimpses of light from distant regions was too costly. So innovators of a not-so-distant past created telecommunication and with it, our beloved Internet.

The halo of light went from a few meters radius to the whole planet. Things were all good on the planet. Everyone could communicate with everyone. Knowing pretty much anything in near real time. Darkness was no more…

… but darkness got replaced by something else … now let’s get real

Through technological advancement, we did lighten up with bright light our environment. Which is a magnificent accomplishment and a required one for the next step. So based on my above highly accurate historical story, we should all be rocking our world right now, with infinite growth, prosperity, satisfaction and most importantly, meaning.

We can now see pictures of our friends meal, read the latest scientific discoveries, get the current stock price of our favorite companies, analyze our business KPIs through fancy dashboards, share how much calories we’ve burned during our morning jogging, get reports on the socio-political situation of distant countries, follow the truck bringing us our latest online purchase, there are as many satellites in orbit than burgers eaten daily, etc. etc. etc.

The halo of light is so bright that it is dazzling us. By squinting our eyes we can see a few things but we are only capturing a small fraction of all the signals we are receiving. Despite all that light, our mental model of the world is unfortunately reduced to a few campfires. Why is that?

Because our brain as a limited capacity to process its environment. For example, it’s difficult for us to store more than four variables in our memory at each step of solving a problem. That’s why it’s hard for us to simply prioritize a to-do list of twenty items. Trying to process hundreds, thousands, even millions of signals at the same time, is like trying to drink water out of a fire hose.

People are now stressed and anxious to not squint their eyes in the right place. Failing to see something that is just in front of you doubles the anxiety. But seeing is one part of the problem. Not being seen is even more stressful. That’s why we experience that little feeling of anxiety when we share a selfie on social media, what if I don’t get any likes… (And my post title’s hat-trick is now completed!) More seriously, this stress is just going exponential for stakeholders of businesses and organizations.

In recent years, we seen an explosion of anti-depressor usage, increase in burnout, people are feeling overwhelmed by the ever growing complexity of the world, and most sadly an increase in suicide rate. Again, loosing way too many good souls but this time because our brilliance become too bright.

Seizing the opportunities, getting out there, succeeding, requires a lot of good squinting. That ability to filter out distraction from meaningful detail. With everything that is made available to us through technology, there should definitely be way more than one Elon Musk.

I’m highly optimistic about our future. I feel privileged to be part of today's world. Yet, there is definitely something wrong here, deep and insidious. Something we need to improve.

How? We abandon technology and go back to campfires? Or do we blindly race through the creation of an AI that will eventually replace us?

Well, I’m not interested in either of these false choices and I’m fortunate to have found awesome people to create with me an option that will help society create the next wave of new awesome combos.

In order to solve such a problem, we believe it is essential to go back to the fundamentals and fight fire with fire. We decided to go after one thing that is universally experienced by all human beings — space and time.

Why space and time, because despite all the technological advancement we have created, despite all the layers of complexity we’ve added, at the end of the day, we are just a bunch of tiny and wonderful little assemblage of atoms living at the surface of the earth, moving in space and evaluating to the best of our capacity what is the next best move to do today in order to have a good life tomorrow. So what if …

What if we could use artificial intelligence, not to replace us, but rather to extend our human potential

What if you had hundreds of eyes working simultaneously? What if you could project yourself in the future and compare hundreds of different simulated scenarios of were you could be in a few months or even a few years? What if you could organize and manipulate space and time by analyzing millions of variables rather than the limited four we have? What if you could feel safe and secure in what you are seeing is what really matters, making better choices today for tomorrow, shaping space and time in the most meaningful ways?

We created Extend AI to make those “what-ifs” a reality.

We are creating a world digital twin. A virtual space and time platform in which sophisticated AI systems will extend our abilities, reduce the intensity by filtering and processing signals for us and ensuring we can see, understand and shape our environment in a sustainable way without been dazzled — fighting fire with fire.

An AI platform that sees and models the world in a similar but yet more powerful way than us to ensure it will be aligned with how we, human beings, experience the world. An AI platform that continues our incredible exploration of what’s possible. AI that enables us to extend our true potential.

If you want to be involved, please get in touch!

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