I’m quite excited to work with all of you in this collaborative class, get to know you better, and read some of your “about me”s! My name is Dan Chen and I’m a senior in Course 9 (Brain and Cognitive Science) with a minor in 6-3 (Computer Science). I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia to two Chinese immigrants, and had a somewhat typical first/second generation Chinese American upbringing. My academic interests lie in the intersection of cognitive science theories about learning and information storage/access in the brain, machine learning and artificial general intelligence approaches, and their implications to society as a whole. In particular, I have a strong desire to apply data science and social psychology approaches to the political realm, possibly as a means of fostering more honest and deep communication between people of differing political ideologies or as a means of helping increase transparency and accountability in government. Outside of the classroom, I spend my time reading about current events and global affairs, cooking or drink-mixing, eating and/or drinking, and talking to friends about current events and global affairs. I also dance from time to time and was part of the original effort of starting Solidarity MIT, which seeks to be a liaison between various groups working in intersecting activist spaces.
As for youth movements that are particularly inspiring to me, I would look at the entire Arab Spring as a largely youth-led movement, which, while having limited success on long-term outcomes, was a solid confirmation of the idea that youth movements can literally topple governments and halt societies. Al Jazeera gives a good breakdown on the way s in which many of the young men and women involved in Arab Spring thought about their respective movements and their eventual outcomes. I am also awed and feel deep admiration for the various young men and women who literally put their bodies and lives on the line in these revolutions, many of whom lost their lives, in pursuit of a greater goal, and aspire to such selfless bravery.