This section is intended as a more personal supplement to my professional profile. Here you will find different information about who I am as a person and about my personal interests.
“Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert
Karate is a martial art based on effective and fast use of the body for defence and attack. As a sport, karate is constantly challenging – both mentally and physically – partly because it depends highly on technique, but also because correct performance of the techniques can be physically demanding. I practised Shotokan karate for many years, focusing on sparring (Kumite), and took part in tournaments, placing in the top three many times at various local and national championships. I was eventually forced to give it up due to injury, but I will always carry the mental aspects of karate with me.
I have always loved playing chess, and I play regularly with some of my closest friends. Apart from being good training for the brain and a true gentlemen’s sport, I like the fact that there are no random elements, and you only have yourself to blame if you lose. You see here a game I played in an invitational tournament some years ago. I’m not a top player by any means, but I was highly satisfied with the way I took the knight in move 19.
I am very interested in all forms of philosophy – particularly, language philosophy. I took an elective course in philosophy during my Bachelors degree at the University of Copenhagen, which included a module on analytical language philosophy. My favourite philosopher is Ludwig Wittgenstein. He has played a major role in both my research and my approach to language technology and artificial intelligence. In my series of articles for the Danish Language Museum (Danish), I draw a parallel between Wittgenstein’s thinking and the research framework of tomorrow’s language technology.
“The limits of my language indicate the limits of my world.”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein
Altruism is the opposite of egoism, and it represents the complete, unselfish approach and action. Effective Altruism (EA) is all about using sense and empirical methods to work out how to benefit other conscious beings to best effect and to act based on this. The purpose of Effective Altruism is to support and promote dissemination of Effective Altruism. EA also deals with future AI scenarios, , and I was involved in establishing Denmark’s EA working group “Responsible AI”. You are welcome to contact me if you are interested in contributing to the working group or to EA in general.
In April 2017, I decided – without prejudice or preconceptions – to investigate what would be the best diet for ensuring these three goals: long life, general well-being and a youthful appearance. Ignoring any “contradictory research” bought and directly or indirectly paid for by the food industry, I came to the conclusion that a plant-based diet was the answer, and the results were so incredibly good that I – and my family, too – have stuck to it ever since. Veganism is also one of Effective Altruism Denmark’s key concepts due to the implications for the climate and animal ethics – issues that have gradually appeared on my radar over time.
Poetry and novellas
Although I have not been able to spend much time on this recently, I very much enjoy writing poetry and novellas, in both English and Danish. I have published a few pieces here and there, but I dream of publishing my own poetry collection one day. Here are a few examples from my pen:
- Digt: In-Search (English)
I know myself.
The line of the frame is clear,
but blurred is all internal depiction.
It is something out of reach somehow,
even though it is born within me, floating out.
Calm but frantic, one but many, in and out of focus,
an impossible search – trying to measure the instrument.
No chance of reconstruction, no hope of analytical satisfaction,
just a disrupted idea of my own awareness and the will to comprehend.
Is there an unseen power practicing obscurantism being a playful puppeteer,
secretly pontificating about the truth of all things, showing me absolutely nothing?
- Digt: Den rene Linje (Danish)
Den rene Linje
Sort på hvidt – fra venstre mod højre,
Iler som et periskop gennem vandskorpen,
Løber langs den rene linje som den tegnes.
Alt er hvidt.
Omgivelserne blænder synkront med hyletonen,
Forblindende forvirring i periferien,
Forviklet stilstand – ræser parallelt med den.
Den rene linje.
Uanfægtelig fremdrift mod et endeligt,
En storm raser i dens koordinat,
Men den optrukne linje er helt død.
Alt er hvidt.
At stille skarpt på liniens yderste punkt,
Med Elektrisk intensitet opleves den nu!
Væren, der i koordinatet – som en hæs stemme.
Den rene linie.
Nådesløst trukket på en intethed i hvidt,
Rasende tvang, indespærret i lovmæssighed,
Den rene linje – mit Jegs usete billede.
- Digt: Eventualities (English)
Something is it not? – great kill-miss;
Have you? Been there? Peeled?
I’ve ivory hands, you’ve evil eyes:
Grudges from here to spandex,
Signing yesterday as whys.
Breakdown like the rhythm of cars,
Bent like Brooklyn on Mars:
A mouthful of newspapers,
Scattered on the ground – my big bucket,
Fuck it; liquefied exhalations.
Chuck it – modified explanations,
Where the twitch is it – that moon?
Fidgeting with a lighter,
Shade of pale – you laying there,
Spread out – splashed – a whale.
Wailing, woolgathering ridicule,
Binocular-tight, ocular-bright beast,
Feasting – no setting but volume.
TAKING IT UP, or t n i own.
You have to know what way, what sound.
Drowned heavy and low, light reddish,
You ever saw that?
I’ve ivory hands, you’ve evil eyes:
Grudges from here to spandex,
Signing out with butterflies.
- Novelle: A Day in The Heart of You (English)
A Day in The Heart of You
(Metaphors of Love and Hate)
While moving freely in the air, the moth was silent; its course of flight uncertain, but without hesitance – moving towards the light, or rather, towards any light. It encompassed a strange duality of being both beautiful and horrid. I watched its flickering movements as it reached the light bulb hanging from an electric wire in the middle of the ceiling. It landed on the burning hot glass, paused for less than a second, and took off again, escaping the torment of the intense heat.
Foreseeing the predictable pattern of the insect’s continuous advance and retreat, which would eventually lead to its death, produced a somewhat disturbing feeling in me – a mixture of gratification and pure horror, which made me feel extremely uneasy, until I slowly convinced myself, through internal dialog, that the life of this tiny creature, ultimately, was unimportant.
With this realization, I felt clearly how my tensed muscles started to relax, and how I ceased to hold my breath and breathed out, as though the polluted thoughts were exhaled. Strangely enough, I was overpowered by a feeling of regret, when the moth finally hit the floor and stopped moving all together. I quickly got on my feet, turned off the light, and walked through the only door in the room.
The bright light made me hold up my hand in order to block out the sun from my view. A state of confusion set in as I realized that I was standing in the middle of the freeway. Drivers in cars and trucks honked their horns in pure surprise and agitation upon seeing me standing, naked, in the middle of the road. Between the lanes was a thin, green stripe of grass and wild flowers, and by a pure stroke of luck I made it there without getting hit by vehicles passing me by at high speed.
I kneeled down and tried to catch my breath, but before I could fathom where I was, I felt a sharp pain on my neck. When I turned around I was surprised to find a little girl in a red dress, a bow in her hair, and a short but heavy stick in her left hand. The look on her face was one of indifference. She swung it again, only harder this time, and the shock of the impact of the stick on my wrist, which I held up to protect my face, made me fall back and scream loudly. Suddenly, several small children came running up the stretch of grass. All of them had small, crude weapons which they swung at me energetically. The pain was unbearable.
At this point my mind simply went into a sort of self-defence mode, and I picked up the nearest child and threw him into the street, exclaiming a heavy roar. A big white truck slammed on the breaks, but only too late, as it went over the child with a soft *bump*. All the children froze and looked at me with disbelief, as I sank to my knees with tears in my eyes, realizing just what I had done. Then a rain of kicks and punches descended on me and I let them do what they wanted. Losing consciousness, I laughed sarcastically; knowing that, at any rate, they accepted me.
As I regained consciousness all my thoughts started to centre around how immensely dry my mouth felt. I tried to open my eyes, but I could not. Upon touching my eyelids with my fingertips, I soon understood that my eyes were stuck together as a result of some sort of infection. I stood up and became aware of the sensation of warm sand under my bare feet.
After scratching my eyes for a minute or two, I managed to get them open. I was surprised to find myself looking straight into the eyes of a beautiful woman, standing right in front of me. She had long black hair and wore a white semi-transparent dress, revealing an attractive figure. She smiled at me; then she turned around and started walking away.
I seemed to be in some sort of desert. There was nothing except red sand as far as the eye could see. I started running towards the woman asking her for some water, but my lips were so dry that it was difficult to speak, and she only laughed at me as she went on, almost floating on the sand. When I caught up with her, I tried to grab her arm, but when I touched her she instantly turned into pure water, which landed on the sand, leaving a wet spot in the shape of her figure. I tried to scream, but my mouth was full of sand, and I started coughing uncontrollably. The sun started to fade and as night fell, I stumbled around in the darkness, screaming her name again and again: “Water!.. Water!?”.
When I woke up I still had a little sand in my mouth and I started spitting in order to get it out. Then I got up and walked to the bathroom to have a long, warm, shower. After that it was time to go to work. On my way to the bus stop I saw a short Caucasian man with a black suit and a small bowler hat. Upon passing him by, I looked over my shoulder to have another look at him and at that moment his hat was blown off his head by the wind and landed in a muddy pool. He started swearing and stomping his feet violently on the ground.
The whole thing was so comical that I could not help turning towards him, laughing out loud. The man stared at me with intense fixity and started running towards me, leaving his hat behind. Surprised at his reaction I took a few steps back, but he soon caught up with me. “Jerk-jerk-jerk!” he screamed insistently. I started to try to apologize and explain myself, but the man was simply unable to hear me, since he did not cease to rant away: “Jerk-jerk-jerk-jerk..”. I decided to try and walk away but the man followed me without ever pausing his relentless ranting. He pursued me all the way to the bus stop, where two elderly women were already waiting for the bus.
The man placed himself just beside me and continued screaming: “Jerk-jerk-jerk..”. I finally lost patience and pushed him away. He stumbled a little around and fell to the ground, and then one of his legs literally broke off. From the look of the half leg laying on the ground his legs were made of glass. I was horrified but also secretly relieved that he would be unable to follow me onto the bus. But then the two old ladies who had witnessed the whole thing joined in on the man’s ranting: “Jerk-jerk-jerk..”. At this point I saw that the old ladies’ legs also were made of glass. I pushed both of them over, and when they hit the ground their legs splintered into several pieces.
At this time the bus was pulling up and all the people inside the bus, having witnessed what had just happened, tried to get off, while they all screamed “Jerk-jerk-jerk-jerk…”. However, when they took the last tall step off the bus, the leg they put first broke off and they fell to the ground, joining the chorus and starring intensely at me. There was glass everywhere. More people soon came running, but their legs splintered upon seeing me. I could feel my stomach turning and I pressed my hand against my mouth as I started to run back. When I got home, I locked the door, and went to hide under the bed covers.
Having laid there for quite a long time, I heard a small voice from under the bed: “Do you think a thought can survive on its own?” I lay there for a while holding my breath; then the question was repeated: “I said, do you think a thought can survive on its own!?”. “Who’s there?” I whispered nervously. I gathered up all my courage and looked under the bed. I was surprised to find a small teddy-bear. A shock went through me like an electric spark, when I suddenly noticed that the small toy had large human eyes. “What are you!?” I hissed hysterically. “We talked earlier about the moth – remember?”, the teddy-bear replied.
I stared at it for a while, still lying flat on my stomach with the upper part of my body hanging over the edge of the bed. “I’m in pain you know…” the teddy-bear eventually said. “I know.” I said, to my own surprise. I picked up the teddy-bear and lay it right in front of me on the bed. I started making conversation: “I thought about your question… If I have a thought and communicate it to you, then it is no longer my original thought, but a flawed version, torn by language. I guess that every thought I have is confined to my own mind and predestined to die within me. This is how it is for everyone. That’s kind of depressing isn’t it?” I looked into the eyes of the teddy-bear, but now there was nothing except two shiny sewn on buttons.
“I’ll see you again soon” I whispered to the teddy-bear, as I gave it a hug and tucked it in, also laying myself to sleep. I felt safe there in my bed with my teddy-bear. And in the darkness I listened to the hum of the refrigerator, imagining that it was humming just for me; humming me to sleep.
HATE & LOVE
I opened my eyes, finding myself in a completely white room, awaken by an electric humming; only – not the one that had lulled me to sleep. This was more of a buzzing, sizzling sound. It coincided with temporary black-outs, where the single light bulb, which was hanging from an electric wire in the ceiling, went out.
“Electro-shock… supposed to rehabilitate us – I hate it; it smells like beef and burnt rubber”. I turned to find out from where and by whom the words had been uttered. On the wall was a large frameless mirror in the shape of a square. Upon looking into it there was nothing unexpected to be seen, except for that the room seemed to be completely black, when looking in the mirror. The contrast between the white of the room I was in and the black of the same room mirrored on the wall was striking. I viewed it from all angles, getting none the wiser.
“What are you doing in there?” a voice said. I starred into the mirror but there was nothing except the room, only in black. For a while I just stood there motionlessly, staring. I was shocked when it occurred to me that the room really was the only thing that was to be seen in the mirror. I myself was not reflected. I looked down at my own body and to my horror I saw that I was wearing a strait jacket. I ran to the door but there was no door handle on the inside.
“That’s right you’re back from dreamy-weamy land.” A taunting voice giggled. It definitely came from the mirror. I staggered back to the mirror, and now I saw my own reflection, only it was slightly pale-skinned and seemed to be delayed by about half a second. I stood as close to the mirror as I possibly could and starred at my own face. I was reflected properly but the room was black.
Out of the black, the facial expression of my own reflection suddenly changed to an aggressive hateful grin, and at the same time it reached out its unbound hands through the mirror, screaming: “I hate you!”. I could feel its strong hands around my neck. “Die you bastard!”. I fell hard to the floor but was not hurt as the floor seemed to be covered by a soft material. My reflection had now protruded the mirror completely and was sitting on top of me. It tightened its grip on my throat screaming: “I don’t wanna be here no more – you hear me!?”. Slowly the white room turned black, and as I was swept in a blanket of darkness, I stroke the cheek of my reflection gently, and with tears in my eyes I whispered to him: “Good-bye teddy..”.
I love making music and have done so for many years. I play some guitar, but I am best on the piano. I love experimenting and trying out various genres when I mix my compositions on the computer. Here are some of my songs and piano pieces. I have a lot more music, and I am considering uploading it to my website. However, this is what I have decided to make publicly available at this time.A piano improvisation (no title) . Back where you belong . Brainf###er does Tokyo