Chris McKinstry’s Suicide

By Deane Barker on January 20, 2008

Off Topic – So what does a web suicide note look like?: I missed this when it actually happened two years ago.

Chris McKinstry posted a suicide note to his own blog and to the Joel on Software off-topic discussion forum (since closed). He had taken a bunch of pills, and he conversed with people in the thread while they took effect. He eventually stops posting, and was found dead the next day. (Warning: Reading the thread is more than a little disturbing.)

He was apparently a big player in the field of artificial intelligence. He included this last swipe in his note:

Oh and BTW, the mind is a maximum hypersurface and thought a trajectory on it and the amygdala and hippocampus are Hopf maps of it. No one knew this before me, and it seems no one care. So be it. My time will come in a hundred or a thousand years when the idea again returns.

Wired had an article on it last week (on this situation, and another suicide of an AI researcher), which is what brought it up again.



  1. That is very heavy duty and I remember reading about it shortly after it happened. Seven years ago this Sunday (26th Jan) my mother committed suicide. The following link provides a background to the what happened:

    Dealing with a tragedy of this magnitude does get easier over time, but it never ever goes away and the pain is always there, especially around anniversary time. I am still mystified as to what goes through ones mind to do this and at the end of the day they know exactly what they are doing and the impact it will have on loved ones. My thoughts go out to his family.

    Cheers, Paul

  2. Deane, Send the guy some bandwidth. He swapped the page out with a nice little note to wired. Ahhhh the power of the internet to deliver heaps of traffic. Maybe I can quick cut a deal with him and monetize it :) Buck Knives, Winchester, and Pfizer please don’t apply.

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