Academic Mission Statement
In a world characterized by chaos and fear, my mission is to provide individuals with hope for the future through the illumination of the past. I strive to guide individuals in understanding the mistakes of history, offering insights on how to navigate them in the present and avoid their recurrence in the future.
I am dedicated to uncovering patterns in both nature and history, aiming to bring meaning to our shared existence. By fostering awareness of these patterns, I seek to empower individuals to cultivate empathy and love for one another, transcending differences and promoting unity.
My mission extends to inspiring hope and countering false philosophies that pose a threat to the happiness and well-being of the individual. Through these efforts, I aspire to contribute to a world where hope, understanding, and genuine connection prevail over discord and uncertainty.
How I Will Fulfil The Mission
Understanding the past can be intricate and elusive. Language, in my view, serves as a gateway to the norms, values, and influences of bygone societies, offering insight into the complexities and challenges they faced.
Utilizing technology enables us to expedite the process of uncovering historical knowledge, thereby enhancing our comprehension of ancient civilizations. Consequently, my research centers on employing Artificial Intelligence to decipher the functioning of past societies through the analysis of their language.
What Are My Specific Goals?
My current research is focused on three specific areas:
- The Mixe-Zoque language in Mesoamerican,
- The translation of the Book of Mormon, its authorship, and grammatical literary construction.
- The Linguistics of Liberty. How speech and information change our perception of reality.
The Mixe-Zoques languages that are spoken in and around the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. It’s clear that this language family was influential in ALL of Mesoamerica but little is understood about how much and why it influenced so much of the region.
It has been proposed that the Olmec civilization spoke (to what degree is not known) a Mixe-Zoque language.
- The Epic-Olmec Script (La Mojarra stela) is proposed to have been a Mixe-Zoque language
- The Mayan proto-language and Mayan glyphs were influenced by the Mixe-Zoque.
- It has been proposed that the Teotihuacan civilization spoke (to what degree is not known) a Mixe-Zoque language.
The Book of Mormon has been an enigma since it came forth in 1830 by Joseph Smith. Even before its publication, its authorship was in question. The central questions I wish to answer are:
- Did Joseph Smith or his contemporaries write the Book of Mormon?
- What type of translation took place by Joseph Smith? Tight vs Loose
- Of the proper names in the Book of Mormon, are there any possible correlations to real-world languages past or present?
Liberty and speech have always been intricately connected throughout the ages. Attempts have always been made by people wanting to control a populace to limit speech to some degree. However, in our information age, speech has been front and center. Some have suggested that with so much information speech has become too dangerous and must be suppressed. My research in this area is focused on the following questions:
- How do complex systems such as social media affect perceptions of reality?
- What is misinformation and disinformation and is it possible to combat?
- Is limiting speech a net benefit for society?
I believe Artificial Intelligence can help give much understanding to the above questions
Funding Goals and Use
The biggest obstacle to my research at the moment is the proper equipment. My research uses a method of Artificial Intelligence deep learning called a Neural Network to analyze data. Neural Networks require a large amount of parallel computing power which requires not only a good CPU but also GPU power. Unfortunately, that processing power does not come cheap and I will need to build a machine to analyze the data during my three years in the doctoral program. The total cost of the machine that I need is between 6-7K. I am applying for grants but unfortunately, those take time to get back and approved so at this point I am attempting to crowdfund equipment I need.
I am a software engineer and a linguist. I hold a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Utah, a Master’s degree in linguistics from Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala City and I am currently a PhD candidate at the Polytechnic University in the Department of Complex Systems in Madrid, Spain.
My research focuses on four areas:
Artificial intelligence algorithms within historical linguistics and epigraphy.
Morphosyntax in Mesoamerican and Mesopotamian languages.
Linguistics of the Book of Mormon and early members within the LDS faith movement in the 19th century.
Linguistics and liberty. How language affects perceptions of liberty.
I am naturally curious, and passionate about religion, ancient history, linguistics, and mathematics. I love being able to uncover patterns and derive meaning from ancient texts. I have focused my computational studies on Mesoamerican and Near Eastern languages, giving me a unique insight into the Book of Mormon and ancient scripture. In addition, my strengths in mathematics and computer science within linguistics assist me in analyzing ancient scriptures and noticing patterns that can only be seen in the aggregate.
You can follow my work at my Website, JacobBillings.com