[Humanode Special Interview Series]: Noah, Rust developer at Humanode

[Humanode Special Interview Series]: Noah, Rust developer at Humanode

Hi Noah, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, and what is your history?

I have lived in Oregon, USA all my life. Most of that being in the outer suburbs of Portland, and most of my childhood was basically spent playing games on my Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64.  When I was in high school, I built my first computer, and that kind of triggered the beginning of my adventures.  Needless to say, I didn’t just jump into programming nor did I really think of this as a start of a career. I was basically having fun playing games and modding Skyrim.  You know, looking back at it, doing game mods was very similar to the process of programming, considering how much you have to look up and mess with… but hey, for me at the time, it was all fun and games.

After high school I went to Oregon State University where I quickly discovered classical education wasn't for me.  Luckily I had also discovered my interest in computer language, and on a whim, started learning Python from a free online course.  Naturally, it was done in my free time, and I was basically just enjoying solving problems in python for no real reason. But in my final semester at school, I started to think about all of the training and studying and schooling that I would have to continue just for the career path I had chosen… and it just looked like torture to me.  To be honest, earlier on I had been diagnosed with a learning disability, and conventional schooling was already hard just to keep up with.

So I sat down and started to really think about what I could do in life, and I quickly discovered that in the field of programming, people really didn’t care about your educational background or what school you went to, or if you had a master's degree or a PhD.  The only thing that mattered was if you could do something or not.  If you have the skills to do the task, nobody questions where you got your skills from, and it is very self evident too, because you can look at the code and see if the person knows what they are doing or not.

It was probably at that moment that I realized I could use my programming skills, and make a living.  I tell you, it was a mind blowing moment.  I mean, I can do what I enjoy and make money?  I can start off my career and not have to suffer years of more schooling?  So yeah, I think that it was that moment when my career path was decided.

Of course, I didn’t jump up, grab programming jobs, and make a lot of money or anything like that. One of our family friends was running a business, and I started working under him as the “IT guy” that managed their servers and stuff like that.  Since the job didn’t demand too much of my time, I was able to do coding on the side to further develop my skills.

Most of my earlier jobs were small scale in where I could complete the task by myself or a small team of people, but as I was able to sharpen my skills, I started to challenge myself further, and am where I am today.

As a kid, what were your dreams and aspirations? What did you want to grow up and be?

Honestly most of my time as a kid was spent reading or playing video games. If you had asked me then I may have given you a generic answer like "Astronaut", but I really would have been perfectly happy to keep my head in the clouds indefinitely.  Actually, for a while, I had “anesthesiologist” in my head for no particular reason besides the fact that I thought it helped people, and I could get a decent living. (chuckle)  

How did you discover Humanode, and what got you interested?

I could say it was just by luck. I started my career in Python, but once I discovered Rust and learned the beauty of the language, I really lost my desire to work with anything else. I mean, Rust just makes good software.  So, one day looking for job listings  I came across Humanode, and it was love at first sight.

Blockchain has been on the top of my personal interest list for a good while, so when I saw a promising Blockchain project, using my favorite language, that proposed a new and better way of thinking about Blockchain, that completely avoids many of the ailments of today’s popular tech like Bitcoin and Etherium… I just had to apply.  

What is your current role in Humanode, and what challenges do you face?

I work primarily on the consensus team, but assist with front-end development as well. One major challenge we face is the same one everybody encounters when pioneering: nobody has ever done it before. We don't have any examples to inform our decisions, so we're definitely learning as we go through trial and error, consultation, and by clashing various ideas to see if we can make a breakthrough.  Fortunately, we have a lot of smart people here that are not afraid of going where no man has gone before.

What do you like the most about Humanode?

Most solutions today primarily value one of two things: money or power. They disproportionately reward users that have it, and "punish" those that don't.

In my mind, Humanode values one thing: human life. Equal opportunity for everyone, simply by proving you're human.

Looking at this from another angle, when you think about the present day Blockchains, when you see how popular they are, but negatively viewed by a large portion of society and in the media… you have to stop to think about what needs to change in order for distributed technology to be accepted.

I mean, just look at twitter, there is a very large percentage of users that just hate distributed technology… and in many cases, the hate is simply born from Bitcoin and the fact that it consumes more energy than entire countries just to keep it running, and it gives the impression that the environment is damaged and livelihoods are threatened just to make a few people rich.

Yes, it is true that there are major issues that need to be solved for many of the distributed networks, but in reality, it comes down to the fact that the technology is still in its infancy.  Blockchain technology has huge implications that can change how we collaborate and work as a global community, but the industry as a whole is going through trial and error, trying to find a better way of doing things.  Humanode proposes answers to a lot of the current critical problems that haunt Blockchain as a whole.

You know, when I first started getting involved in Blockchain, and was thinking about how I could solve the problems that dominate the consensus mechanisms of Proof of Work and Proof of Stake networks, I had actually thought a possible solution would be to have everybody that is Human, go get a DNA scan and get a chip or something that proves they are human, and use that chip as a validation token to prove that you are not a bot.  It was just a wild thought and that was that.  But when I ran into Humanode, I was like “Woah!  There is actually a group of really really smart people that had similar thoughts and are actually making this a reality!”.

How do you envision the Humanode bio-authentication 5 years from now? What kind of system do you think has been developed?

Face scans will probably be the primary mode for a while, however I could definitely see the use for something wearable on the person. If you're like me, there will probably be more than one occasion where you forget to re-authenticate your node. I think a small device like a ring could  be neat. Something that can constantly keep track of your "liveness" would be super helpful.

Are there any specific types of applications that you would like to see utilize the Humanode protocol?

Social media is wrought with bots and disinformation. Something based on Humanode has incredible potential here, and could revolutionize how we interact.  I mean, just thinking about how many issues that exist in the current social media could be solved or prevented by proving that the person behind the account is really a person, and if need be can be held accountable for what he or she says… it would be a game changer.  

Setting Humanode aside for a moment, what do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

I still love reading and games whenever I can find time. I enjoy cooking and the occasional hike. Also tend to absorb a new language once in a while. Yoga, my dog, and my plants aren't exactly hobbies, more like things that keep me sane.

What are your goals in life?

I believe the root of all conflict is miscommunication. Through technology we can better translate meaning to others, and unlock greater potential for humankind. Other than that, a healthy body, mind, and relationship with others is always good.

What do you want to be doing in 5 years time, then in 10 years time?

Having been in the pacific northwest my entire life, I am itching to see new places and want to travel the world. I also want to write a book or two; 10 years seems like a decent deadline.

What is your favorite food, favorite movie, and favorite rock song?

Mexican food, Arrival, and I don't know. Alt-J is pretty good.

Anything you would like to say to the community?

We're on the cusp of a new internet. Don't be discouraged by what you see now. A lot of amazing innovations are right around the corner.