Josh Cartu, a self confessed adrenaline junkie and risk-taker who has competed in the Gumball Rally, flown a MiG-29 fighter plane out to the very edge of space, gives us an insight in to his life as a tech entrepreneur and racing driver.
What do you currently do at AEGIS Labs?
AEGIS Labs began as an abstract laboratory but our fringe projects have led to defense contracts and to building proprietary tech for very specific needs.
Defining what AEGIS does is quite an abstract proposition. To answer the question I’d need to begin many years ago when I was an intern at a public company called Microforum.
This company for a time was run by my uncle and so I was lucky enough to score an internship (zero pay) for a short time. For me, it was a dream come true to get to play with the most advanced hardware and software and work with highly gifted people. If I had a choice and I could have somehow fed myself, I’d have done this forever.
For a long time, it’s been my dream to recreate this environment and not for business reasons but more to create a playground for gifted individuals so that we could explore fringe ideas using the most bleeding edge hardware, software, and ideas imaginable.
When I met Daniel Cohen and Dr. Ashley McDonald, I realized that together we shared the same dream and could make it a reality. We were a group of guys obsessed with tech and emerging ideas for years but just over a year ago, I decided to open an office and move everyone to Budapest so we could all work hands-on and face to face.
Right now, our main focus at AEGIS Labs is AI, deep learning and applying that to big data. We have spent a lot of time creating frameworks and some of the major tech behind Crypto like creating new chains… outside of ERC20 (Ethereum-based) and using AI to solve problems that even 5 years ago wouldn’t have been possible. AEGIS is looking for connections between people and things that aren’t obvious.
When you gather enough data, patterns begin to emerge that normally wouldn’t make sense. Gathering enough data over long enough periods of time allows us to predict the behavior and trends of people, things, the market, and possibly one day, the future.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
When I was young I used to read a lot of science fiction. We didn’t have the Internet at home until I was 12 years old and back then it was a highly limited experience. I spent my time browsing university texts via Gopher and NCSA Mosaic but without any formal education at 12 years old, most of this just added to my curiosity and created a hunger for more.
My favorite series of them all was Isaac Asimov’s Robots and Foundation series. The series is about a concept created by a fictional character named Hari Seldon who was a “Psychohistorian”. The idea of Psychohistory being that with a large enough model, enough data, and enough computing power, one could essentially model the entire universe and fast forward and rewind at will (virtually of course).
Imagine creating a perfect simulation of our current universe but being able to peer into it running five or even twenty years ahead of ours… now imagine creating millions of instances of the same simulation… you get the idea. I believe we are very far from being able to do that but you can see AI assisted simulations and models being used everywhere today. The aerodynamics of cars, and especially NVIDIA is now using its Tensor cores to predict the next frame of video and “teach” themselves to render those frames even faster. To imagine that Isaac Asimov was writing about this stuff in 1942 is incredible but I believe we’re on our way now and AEGIS will do everything in its power to be a part of that.
Who do you admire?
Elon Musk, Isaac Asimov, Gene Roddenberry and Bill Gates, to name a few… I admire people that saw things and ideas that needed to exist but the world wasn’t necessarily ready for them yet. Steve Jobs, for example, imagined the first “iPhone / iPod which started with the Newton but the tech wasn’t there yet.
For me, it’s like when you’re sitting at home and you want your home, your computer, your tv or even your watch to do something you believe it so obviously should be able to do… but it doesn’t. Then to take that idea and go out and build it regardless of how many people are against it or don’t believe enough in it. I think it either comes from one person who has a combination of said characteristics or a pairing or group of like-minded and special people.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Is there ever! I’d have started focusing on my real passion earlier. Somewhere along the line, I began to get caught up in things that didn’t matter. The world tries to tell you what you HAVE to do or what you NEED to look like, how you NEED to behave.
It tells you that you need designer clothes to be cool, you need an awesome car to impress people… I’ve been there, done that but it never made me happy. Now that I’m spending more and more time on my real passion, I’m a happier guy because I’ve found purpose beyond the accumulation of things or impressing other people. Other than that, I’m doing exactly what I believe I was meant to do right now.
What defines your way of doing business?
I look for a problem in the world, then try to solve it, then I get someone’s advice on how to build a business model around it because I don’t really see myself as a businessman in the traditional sense. My way of doing business is more about getting people who would never otherwise be working together to do so and work toward a common goal that excites them and makes us all rush to get out of bed in the morning.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Start doing something you’re passionate about early in life instead of later. Whatever field you’re in, you’ll be up against people that don’t look at the clock or consider the amount of effort required. If you’re not crazy about what you do then you probably aren’t going to be great at it either. I really say this to encourage and not discourage.
Many young people aren’t sure about their path and feel that there is some kind of epic choice that needs to be made right away. Choices should be made without hesitation and without looking back. Who you are isn’t a decision that’s made at a moment’s notice… it’s a long and gradual process and you need to pay attention to your environment to notice the opportunities that come.
People make mistakes in their life choices every day… people fall down… the important thing is to get up as quickly as possible, dust yourself off and try again. I have a very long list of things I failed at but I never stopped trying new things and I’d like to think I’ve had a decent run of it so far.