Note: This item comes from friend John McMullen. This all is in reference to the CBS TV show ‘Scorpion’. DLH]
This seems to say that it is all true –
Walter O’Brien (hacker name: “Scorpion”) was diagnosed as a child prodigy with an IQ of 197 and at 13 years old started his company ScorpionComputerServices.com. Scorpion has mitigated risk for 7 years on $1.9 trillion of investments and has invented and applied Artificial Intelligence engines to protect United States war fighters in Afghanistan. Scorpion is now a think tank for hire that provides intelligence on demand as a concierge service for funded challenges throughConciergeUp.com. Since 1988, Scorpion’s team of world class experts partner with clients on a global basis, across industries, to add real measurable value in mission-critical initiatives from planning, to execution, to running the business. Scorpion’s senior management has a collective knowledge of more than 413 technologies, 210 years in IT, and 1,360 projects. Scorpion himself has created over 177 unique technology inventions including ScenGen and WinLocX and is one of the world’s leading experts in the application of computer science and artificial intelligence to solve complex industry challenges.
Scorpion was born and raised in Ireland, and at 16, ranked first in national high speed computer problem solving competitions. At 18, he competed in the World Olympics in Informatics and has ranked as high as the sixth fastest programmer in the world. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence with honors from Sussex University in the United Kingdom. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified Scorpion as being of National Interest to the United States economy and granted him an Extraordinary Ability EB 1-1 Visa (also granted to Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill). Scorpion is a frequent public speaker for IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and teaches as a mentor with the Founder Institute, the world’s largest idea-stage incubator, which has helped launch over 1129 companies across 33 countries. Scorpion has worked with the world’s largest mutual fund company, Fujitsu, Microsoft-Trados, Oracle Corporation, Baltimore Technologies, and Critical Path. Walter currently serves as chairman or board member for Indi.com, Strike Force Solutions,TalentorumAlliance, Lawloop, Pantheon Energy and previously has served on the boards of companies such as American Environmental Energy, Starglobe and Toin Corp. In addition, Scorpion is frequently called on by news media, the government and the federal court system for his technology expertise.
The Mythical And Almost Certainly Made Up ‘Legend’ Of Walter O’Brien Continues To Grow
from the make-it-stop-already dept
By Mike Masnick
Oct 6 2014
A few weeks ago, we wrote about “Walter O’Brien,” the guy who is supposed to be the basis of the CBS TV show Scorpion. The problem we had was that O’Brien made a ton of absolutely fantastical claims and, after doing a little fact checking, none of them seemed to check out. At all. Since a few people brought this up, let me make it clear: I have no issue with exaggerating on a TV show for the sake of good entertainment. I don’t even mind bogus claims like “based on a true story” because, hey, Fargo was pretty awesome. If that’s all that was going on, it wouldn’t be a big deal and everyone could get on with their lives.
What concerns me about the bogus Walter O’Brien story is twofold: (1) Gullible reporters simply repeat his claims without even the slightest bit of skepticism, which is just shameful reporting and (2) O’Brien and his friends aren’t just making a TV show: they’re trying to spin the TV show (which, as far as we can tell has close to no basis in reality) into a way to promote O’Brien’s “business” with claims that are wholly unbelievable — in that, literally, I don’t think most of the claims are true. It worries me that some people will take the TV show’s inflated claims at face value and think that throwing gobs of money O’Brien’s way will get them the clearly exaggerated solutions the show is pitching.
Last week, O’Brien appeared with Scorpion producer (and Justin Bieber manager) Scooter Braun at the “Techmanity”* conference in San Jose, and I went to the show hoping to talk to O’Brien and/or the producers of the show to see if they could help clear up the inconsistencies in his story (many of which we detailed in the original post). Instead, despite multiple requests, I was denied an opportunity to interview them before or afterward. They did appear to show up right before going on stage, and then I was told they had to leave immediately after (though, at least one other conference attendee posted a selfie with O’Brien well over an hour after O’Brien got off stage). Despite the agenda specifically promising a Q&A with O’Brien and multiple producers, there was no Q&A (and those other producers weren’t even there). A microphone stand that had been present for Q&A during earlier sessions was removed prior to the panel, so it was clear that there was no intention of a Q&A at all.
Instead, there were just more questionable claims from O’Brien, on a panel moderated by Fast Company’s Chuck Salter, an “award winning”reporter who didn’t seem interested in challenging a single claim from O’Brien, taking them all at face value. Fast Company, which co-produced the conference, and thus, perhaps, had business reasons for suppressing all skepticism, also wrote a big article again repeating the O’Brien myth, though that article appears to have been dropped behind a paywall.
O’Brien tells some of the same stories he’s told before — claiming the company only hires people with IQs over 150 and that people with high IQs have “low EQs” and they try to help them on that front. This leaves aside the whole fact that the concept of “EQ” is pretty questionable in the first place and that even IQ is a pretty limited and misleading tool, which may be useful for determining some innate problem solving skills in kids, but means little once they reach adulthood. Once you’re an adult, however, IQ is somewhat meaningless. That doesn’t stop O’Brien from continuing to assert that he has an IQ of 197, and multiple publications to claim that he’s either the “fourth smartest man” in the world or has the “fourth highest IQ ever recorded.”
As we noted in our original post, there is no public evidence that O’Brien actually even has such an IQ, let alone that it’s the 4th highest ever recorded. In his Reddit AMA, Walter admits that the “4th highest” claim comes from just getting a 197 (still no proof shown) and using this table on the distribution of IQ to assume that he must be the 4th because a 197 IQ only should occur in 1 out of every 1.5 billion people, and then he estimated based on the number of people on the planet. Of course, for someone with such a high IQ, that shows a surprising lack of understanding how IQ actually works. He also notes that he took the Stanford-Binet IQ test, though he doesn’t say when. If it was while he was a child (as suggested by his claim to have been “diagnosed” as a “child prodigy”) then it’s likely he took an earlier version of the Stanford-Binet test — either the SBIV or the L-M, depending on when he took the exam. It seems noteworthy that modern research has noted that scales on the results of those two versions of the test should equal lowerscores on the current SB5. The 197 score (assuming it’s true), strongly suggests he took the L-M, which used a ratio scoring system, as opposed to the IV, which was standardized. As such, it also would mean that using the deviation chart Walter uses would be inaccurate, since the ratio score wasn’t based on the same scoring system (you’d think someone with such a high IQ would recognize that). And, about all that would suggest was that, at a young age, he was likely far ahead of his peers, but that’s about it. Either way, the whole “4th smartest man” in the world claim is clearly ridiculous.