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Marcus Tellez

Sr. Software Engineer and AI Researcher #

I am a Senior Software Developer and AI researcher who spends most of my using machine learning and large language models.

My specialty is helping developers and companies leverage artificial intelligence for maximum results with minimum input!

I have been a programmer for almost 30 years! #

Hi there! 👋

My name is marcus Tellez and I come from an interesting background.

I was born in Michoacan Mexico in the mid-eighties and was smuggled into the USA as a baby.

Family accounts differ, but I have been told by my father that I wasn’t even a year old.

Early years #

a young american boyscout eating apple pie in a farmhouse kitchen

I grew up in San Diego California as an American boy - my parents were adamant that only English was spoken in our house.

It proved an excellent cover for us, and California was notorious for allowing the undocumented to live there unmolested.

However as an adult, I remigrated back to Mexico to get in touch with my roots, and because I have long since passed my rebel stage (being a fan of Marcus Aurelius and philosophy and history can do that to you!).

Before we left Mexico, my father was a professor who instilled a love of language, poetry, science, math, and technology in me.

I was disassembling household electronics by the age of 8 and then learning to reassemble them (under threat of punishment usually) shortly after.

I knew the value of laying things out systematically, which I suppose was my first introduction to documentation.

A love for Programming #

a young teenage boy assembling an old computer from parts

I began programming incredibly young, assembling computer parts scrounged from neighborhood yard sales.

With the help of a local electronics repair shop, I had a working Atari and ColecoVision shortly after, and I found an obsession with video games.

A Commodore Amiga followed soon afterward, and I became enthralled with coding.

A terrible student despite my Father’s efforts to keep me scholastic aligned, I was more interested in playing with my computers and electronics kits than I was in following rules or studying topics I didn’t care for.

I started getting into a lot of trouble.

Autodidacticism #

a teenage boy fighting with a bully

By the time I reached High School, I had convinced my parents to homeschool me, which was just a continuation of my autodidacticism.

I wasn’t interested in being force-fed information, I wanted to hack it myself.

As I said, I was a terrible student when it came to school, but I loved learning about anything as long as it was self-directed.

I quickly grew bored and tired of my homeschool curriculum when I discovered the newly created World Wide Web and computer networks through BBS software and by connecting to machines around the world using the TELNET protocol.

I found a group of University students working on something called MERCMud, an online role-playing game system written in C and derived from a previous codebase.

I started teaching myself the C language to create my version of the game and add to existing codebases.

A Highschool Dropout #

a young man skateboarding

And that was it for my structured education, I got my GED and started learning JavaScript, and even LISP and began canvassing the neighborhood on my skateboard, looking for local businesses who needed a clever kid who could program computers, think around corners, and solve business problems with deeply inquisitive mind.

I found several pizza shops, a comics shop, and a guy who had a garage filled with water filtration systems, who wanted to use my “services”.

I will always remember the filter guy, because his wife was going to divorce him unless she could park her mercedes in the garage again!

I ended up building him an informational website on Geocities complete with a JavaScript based shopping cart.

There was no “checkout” feature, people just put these systems in their cart, and then called a phone number and ordered the parts or system they wanted!

My work experience #

young man working at his desk in sf

My first legitimate programming job was at 18 when I paired up with a local technology recruiter, who convinced me to move to the south of San Francisco, where he connected me with contract job after contract job, writing PERL and later PHP and then C#.

I ended up working for 3 weeks (on a short contract) at X.com which was not much to think about at the time, but looking back I had been in the same building as Elon Musk!

Too bad I never got to meet the guy.

For the last (almost) 30 years I have worked as an employee and contractor from some very forgettable companies, and a few memorable ones (in hindsight), and quite a few that turned out to be damn near fraudulent - I also ended up working on the original YouTube comment system with a small team of contractors, and later I spent a stint as an employee at PayPal.

I learned much about human nature, marketing, business, and sales while continuing my love for engineering solutions.

I liked scrappy startups and garage businesses far more than working at established companies.

Maybe it is the inner rogue and cowboy in me, but I like to come in guns blazing, do some fantastic work, and then move on to the next thing so I can continue learning new technologies and what I call “meta-skills”, which most people would call their primary skill - all at a breakneck speed.

My Obsession with AI #

an image representing a neural network

I have been interested, nay-obsessed in Artificial intelligence since my introduction to LISP and ever since I was traumatized by the movie “Terminator” as a kid.

I was convinced I didn’t want to be a soldier, going toe to toe with a robotic menace.

Instead, I would happily sit safely in an underground bunker and use technology like drones and viruses to do my “dirty work”.

For the last 10 years I have been learning everything I can about Neural Networks, Genetic Algorithms, Large Learning Models, and recently, Generative Pre-trained Transformers (which might seem odd since I have little formal training in Mathematics).

I was heavily into programming for Crypto (mostly web3 and solidity), but after witnessing the “Great Fleecing” of the retail market, both in crypto and traditional markets, I have fallen out of love with the technology due to its nefarious use.

Where am I now? #

an image representing a ghostwriter

These days I still build software and web applications using NextJS, ReactJS, and MongoDB, among other languages and technologies - and act as a professional “Ghostwriter” for intelligent people with fantastic ideas, and I spend any spare time I have researching, teaching, and writing about developments, uses and risks of Artificial Intelligence.

My passion lies in AI today, as I have mastered most aspects of programming after all these years and my enjoyment comes from being befuddled, not in knowing “all the things”.

That is the impetus for this website and my (hopefully) prolific writing on the subject.

My mission is to bring AI to the masses and free it from the hands of programmers and academic researchers.

In my mind, it is the most important and civilization-changing invention since our harnessing of fire and the printing press - this creation might destroy us, free us, but either way, it won’t be boring!

You can find several of my articles on GPT designed to educate a non-technical audience on how they can use the latest advancements of AI in their daily lives below.

Writing Clean JavaScript - Part 1 - Functional Programming
12 minute read
Marcus Tellez (AI Researcher)
Written on May 23, 2023
javascript clean code functional programming
Want more readable, concise JavaScript? Here are some functional programming tips to guide you!