Robots with Hearts is a space for art and non-art: poetry, fiction, essays, and visual art. Most of it is mine, but I also ask for and accept work from others.

Who I am and what I do

My name is Ike. My “real” name is Isaac Hollander McCreery, but, really, no one calls me that.

I am a community organizer, rogue scholar, and ex-software engineer. I spend most of my time organizing for Resource Generation and CARW in Seattle, reading, writing, and trying to practice radical care for myself and other people I love. Previously, I worked for Google as a software engineer on Kubernetes for about a year after graduating from Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH, where I studied math. I was also a Data Science for Social Good Fellow at the University of Chicago and a software engineer during the 2012 Obama campaign with the folks who eventually became AMG. [1]

If this seems like an odd collection of experiences, you can read about why I joined Google and about why I left. If you’re looking for a really formal breakdown of my experiences, you can find my resume here.

Outside of work, I like using my mind, heart, and body, usually in that order. I love meeting people, and I enjoy big talk way more than small talk [2]. I’ve started reading more, a long-time dream of mine, though I still trust friends to fill me in on what they’re learning too.

Organizing and activism

Primarily, I am a member-organizer with the Seattle chapter of Resource Generation. I grew up with some wealth privilege and quite a bit of class privilege, and I’m excited to be working with others of similar backgrounds to develop skills and collective power to leverage wealth and class privileges for economic and racial justice. I’ve started writing some reflections you can read if you’re curious. I also organize with CARW, because I’m white and tired of living in a racist world.

Technical interests

I studied math in college and worked as a software engineer in a few different places because I really enjoy technical problem-solving. I always said when I worked at Google that I got paid to do something like solve really hard crossword puzzles all day [3]. When I was younger I ran a slim little bicycle repair business out of my parents’ basement.

If I ever go back to technical work, I might end up as a software engineer again or I might go into academic research. If I end up doing the former, I hope to work on societally impactful problems. For a few years, I’ve been toying with the possibility of creating a suite of software tools for community organizers like me, to help keep track of things that are hard to keep track of, namely people and relationships. When I finished the 2012 election, I swore off electoral politics, but I have to admit they’ve got some really interesting, really impactful problems to solve, so that’s another direction I might take.

Similarly, my research interests lie primarily at the convergence of the social and formal sciences. In the social sciences, I’m primarily concerned with systems of power and how they manifest and function in society. For example,

These issues have been under consideration for centuries, but society is changing dramatically, and our tools for gaining understanding are also shifting. Computers and programming languages and their related components allow humans to construct complex systems far beyond our own comprehension. For most of its short history, computer science has been primarily concerned with constructing complex logical systems; however, we are beginning to see that the tools developed by computer scientists also give us the ability to reason about emergent complex systems such as those found in the social sciences. Insight driven by data is somewhat interesting to me, but insight based on logical systems is even more so. In other words, I’m interested in how we can leverage computation to reason about systems that are too complex for humans to comprehend.

In all this work, I’m interested in moving the world toward democracy and social justice and ending domination in all its forms.

[1] Robots with Hearts is a personal project of mine, and the views I express here are my own and don’t represent those of Resource Generation, CARW, Google, DSSG, or anyone else other than myself.

[2] That is, between humans, not to be confused with the programming language Smalltalk, about which I have no strong feelings one way or the other

[3] I actually don’t really like crossword puzzles, but it’s got a nice ring to it.