The Cortico Name

In naming Cortico, we aimed to balance the "artificial" in AI, our technological domain, with the heart of our mission: human connections built on common ground.

Cortico's philosophy follows from our collaboration partner, the MIT Media Lab's Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM), which aims to use AI and machine learning to bring humans into collaborative systems, as opposed to legislating us out of them. 

Cortico is the prefix of “cortex” -- the part of our brains where senses come together to help us understand the world. It’s human, empathetic, and connective.

By mapping social and mainstream media signals, Cortico surfaces where shared understandings form in the public sphere. We believe a healthy public sphere is one that has areas of common ground and understanding amidst competing signals.

In that spirit, we drew our logo to be transforming, with each letter wanting to connect and come together to create meaning as one body and one word.

We look forward to connecting meaningfully with you, too.

💓,

Eugene

Our Favorite Quotes

We kicked-off our product offsite with each of us sharing a quote we resonate with -- here's the roundup of guiding mantras and inspirations that rev us:

"No one goes there nowadays - it's too crowded." - Yogi Berra

"Don't oppose forces, use them.” - Buckminster Fuller

"Between the lips and the voice something goes dying.” -Pablo Neruda

"There's nothing more practical than a good theory." -Kurt Lewin

“The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” - Muriel Rukeyser

“How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, / and frightening that it does not quite.” - Jack Gilbert

"History is merely a list of surprises.  It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again." - Kurt Vonnegut

“In testing primality of very large numbers chosen at random, the chance of stumbling upon a value that fools the Fermat test is less than the chance that cosmic radiation will cause the computer to make an error in carrying out a ‘‘correct’’ algorithm. Considering an algorithm to be inadequate for the first reason but not for the second illustrates the difference between mathematics and engineering."

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” -Robert A. Heinlein

“the whole world + the work = the whole world” - Martin Creed

"To state it is to refute it." - Daniel Webster

“above up there is only up.” - John maeda

 

Welcome, Wes!

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What drew you to join Cortico? 

W: I had for a while a latent interest in journalism, but I didn't really acknowledge it until a few years ago. A lot of Cortico's work surrounds the sharing and divisiveness of media. That sounds paradoxical somehow, that we're sharing more and more on social media, but for some reason society is more divided now than before. I think that we've been cursed, as the saying goes, to be alive at such an interesting time, and Cortico is one of the few outfits that has a shot at understanding the state of social discourse.

Which song will be your first add to the team's music playlist? 

W: The Old Westside by The Tillers

What do you like most about being a Software Engineer? 

W: The sound of my own typing.

Welcome, Peter!

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What drew you to join Cortico? 

P: When I first heard about Cortico's mission I was really inspired since it seemed like a very real problem worth working on today. To be able to have an impact on reducing divisiveness in the world is something I would love to achieve. After meeting some of the team during the interview process, I was convinced that these were people that actually had the capability to do so and I didn't want to miss an opportunity to work and learn from them. 

Which song will be your first add to the team's music playlist? 

P:  It's tough to choose a first song, but I'm going to go with Weird Fishes by Radiohead. This song is on one of my favorite albums, In Rainbows, and just continuously surprises with new layers of beauty as it goes on. Plus who doesn't like the terms "weird fishes"? Can't take things too seriously all the time.

What do you like most about being a Design Technologist? 

P: I love my job. I get to do a balance of design work and development of products which is really satisfying. Being able to split time between engineering, designing interfaces, and discussing potential future products and directions for Cortico makes each day new and interesting. It's all the more fun since the people I get to work with have such interesting and varied opinions on everything being made-- never a dull moment.

Welcome, Doug!

Per new tradition, Doug sits down with the team for our inaugural 3 question introductory interview. Welcome aboard, we're thrilled you're here! 

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What drew you to join Cortico? 

D: Cortico is at the intersection of so many things that I care about -- large-scale data analysis, natural language processing, and journalism, to name a few -- and it focuses these powers on a vital social mission.  It also gives me the chance to learn from people across many disciplines, not just the software engineers and computer scientists I'm used to working with (not that there's anything wrong with us!).

Which song will be your first add to the team's music playlist? 

D: Hard to choose.  My most recently played songs are "Free Man in Paris" by Joni Mitchell and "Room Where it Happens" from the Hamilton cast album, both great songs, so I'll probably play those.

What do you like most about being a Software Engineer? 

D: I like building tools that expose new information to people, whether it's about words or news.  That moment when a complex data pipeline comes together and you start to see the first insight from it is really special.