résumé | email | GPG key 38D33EF29A7691134357648733466E12EC7BA943 | twitter

My name is Isaac David Reyes González.1 By and large I'm interested in improving my perception and reasoning, correcting and expanding my ontological models and reprogramming my value function and corresponding behaviors through an inquiry of experience and nature (and the nature of experience); so as to procure the flourishing of conscious creatures. There goes the mission statement.

Following up on the former, among my instrumental interests more precisely figure science; notoriously cognitive science and neuroscience. Other subjects include computing, the occasional battery of mathematics and physics, philosophy, art — mostly, enjoying and sometimes practicing music and painting —, and to the extent that I can bring myself to digest the disheartening bullshit orbiting it: politics.

A short bio

As a preschool kid I imagined of becoming a scientist of sorts (the generic kind), because that would somehow give me superpowers. When I was a teenager I got involved in math competitions and all of the sudden I was surrounded by nerds who taught me to appreciate clear thinking. By the time I was in high school I started reading philosophy and learned about things like the mind-body problem and naturalistic views of the world. I also realized my religious upbringing was no longer sustainable. I could barely decide to go for physics at the university, but my family couldn't afford sending me to a different city, so I ended up studying computer engineering at home.

Although I would have reasonably liked a career in computer science research or free/libre software development (where I volunteered for some years), I realized the IT jobs I had access to wouldn't make me happy. It also seemed to me that my skills were being wasted. One day, while riding my bike to a mediocre job, I decided to go for the single topic I find most interesting and fundamental: consciousness; even if it meant traveling an unfamiliar and difficult detour. Never have I looked back since, and it seems to be paying off.

I realized I needed graduate training in biology and psychology, because our own brains are the only model in which this topic can be studied in a principled fashion. First I took a job as a research assistant, where I learned a few things about machine learning. With the money and some new basic skills in academia and AI, I could make the jump to cognitive neuroscience. After some rejections abroad, I briefly pursued a master's degree in cognitive science within my country. Then I abandoned that program to enroll in another, now in neurobiology at UNAM (the National Autonomous University of Mexico).

Once the basic neuroscience credentials were in, I could aim higher and narrower; hopefully contributing to the venues I find most promising for cracking the problem of consciousness (like Integrated Information Theory, whose impact I suspect will be felt way beyond this tiny corner). However, moving from a developing country to a rich one is no cheap enterprise. So I went away to industry, and with money I came back, looking for PhD options. In 2022 I was invited to visit the Center for Sleep and Consciousness at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Right now I am a PhD student there.

  1. Isaac (first name), David (middle name), Reyes González (paternal and maternal family names, as customary in the Spanish language)