Hot-or-Not's James Hong has said it, other friends have hinted at it — Max Levchin is a cyborg. The ex-Paypal exec and Slide founder may be an early-model Cylon or a Soong-type android, or even a Gigolo Joe mecha. But he sure ain't human.
Evidence that Max Levchin is a cyborg
- The suspicion started when Marketwatch scared me (and this time not because of Jon Friedman's writing style). Bambi Francisco published her interview with Max Levchin — complete with WMV featuring the Slide founder. And one thing drove me crazy (other than my inability to screencap it): Max moved like a Disney animatronic model. [Bambi Francisco]
The man is ripped. What human engineer has biceps? [Flickr]
- As noted in the above photo's Flickr page, Max follows a polyphasic sleep schedule — a perfect excuse to stay constantly awake, always heading somewhere else to "sleep."
- When he worked at PayPal doing security (alert: common robot job), Max invented the Gausebeck-Levchin test, a Captcha test designed to tell humans apart from computers. Tell me this — how did Max know what computers think? [Wikipedia]
After the jump, I run Max through the Voight-Kampff test.
- I confronted Max with my fears, using the reliable Voight-Kampff test from Blade Runner.
Valleywag: Reaction time is a factor in this so please pay attention. Answer as quickly as you can.
It's your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?
Max Levchin: Is there some sort of a connotation with calfskin?
Knowing you, you are testing my homosexuality index. :-)(
I have gotten leather wallets for bdays before.
Wag: It's just a question. In answer to your query, it's written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response.
I say thanks.
Wag: You've got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?
Max: Trying to remember the correct quote from Blade Runner...
In real life, I'd probably ask him to consider whether he'd like to be "collected" like the butterflies — on a pin.
Then again, I am a bit of a enviro.
Wag: Describe, in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.
Max: It's hard to translate that from Russian.
My mom is associated with Russian words, not English.
Wag: Go ahead.
Max: Warmth, food, toys, multiplication table, after-school projects, camping, trains.
Conclusion: Without an actual Voight-Kampff machine, or even being in the same room with Max, the test proves inconclusive. But he knows Russian, and those replicants looked Ukranian, right? [Voight-Kampff machine]
- In his defense, Max pointed to an unsolicited documentation of his spontaneous facial expressions. For example:
Um, sure Max. Did you think I'd forget a little thing called the emotion chip? You are so busted. [atgig.com]