Posted: Friday, December 17, 2021. 3:01 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Washington Mail has named Belizean-American inventor Andre Gray, the No.1 ranked inventor in the world for the past 33 consecutive years, as 2021 Person of the Year.
Credited with countless inventions that have made the internet what it is now and considered 80% responsible for how smartphones work, Gray grew up in Belize as a normal but curious boy who made his “own kites, tops, slingshots, and small woodworking projects like lamps, paper towel holder, bread box and things of that sort.”
“Yes, all the boys living in Belize City, and perhaps the entire country were naturally skilled with their hands. Whatever projects I was making at the time, they made, too,” he told the Los Angeles Tribune which featured a conversation with him on Tuesday, December 14.
But a being of a curious mind, young Andre went beyond.
“What sets me apart from the pack was when I made projects like the camera obscura, a wooden cypher, and a crystal radio.”
At the time, he told The Los Angeles Tribune, he was between seven and nine.
Gray who is now 55 is the son of the late attorney Joseph Cutbert Gray and his wife Eleanor. According to the Amandala, he attended St. Catherine Elementary School and St. John’s College. At the age of 15, in 1981, he migrated to the United States when he was in second form.
Now, living in the United States, he is such a recognized inventor that The Washington Mail has named him Person of The Year because his inventions have helped people make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last 20 months, to say the least has ravaged the world with COVID-19 and its never-ending variants forcing lockdowns, polarized political strifes, clogged supply chains, and a dystopian sense of the new norm, whatever that means these days. Given this major paradigm shift, our editors at The Washington Mail believe that our selection for the person of the year 2021 should be someone who made a major contribution to make life easier during COVID, so much so that it would be almost impossible to survive the pandemic without such a contribution,” said The Washington Mail on December 16 when their Editorial Board made the announcement. “Given the criteria and its parameters just mentioned, The Washington Mail editors have unanimously chosen the great Belizean-American inventor Andre Gray as our person of the year 2021.”
The newspaper explained that Gray’s inventions were not made during the pandemic, noting that in January, Gray himself had to be hospitalized with COVID-19, but rather years before.
“His revolutionary inventions have transformed the world from an analog society to a digital one with far-reaching and deeply profound implications that will last for many centuries to come.
“During COVID lockdown, social media was a major medium of staying in contact with family, friends, coworkers, and others who are in our orbit,” said The Washington Mail.
The Mail then says Gray invented the electronic press kit, or EPK, in 1995. It explained that while the EPK was invented as an online marketing and branding tool it became the template for social media. Without it “there would be no Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, YouTube and all other social media platforms which have now grown to become a multi-trillion dollar industry”.
“Facebook is built on my technology,” Gray told the Amandala in July 2017.
Gray is also credited with inventing the first bot in 1988, naming it “inkling”, and infusing it with artificial intelligence.
“Without internet bots, the internet would not have grown to the massive size that it is today. So, basically, internet bots are the internet,” said the Washington Mail.
But what would life be without smartphones which are the single device that is the most responsible for keeping the world interconnected and even more during the pandemic? While we use desktops, laptops, and tablets, what keeps us mobile at any time are smartphones. And Gray has a whole lot to do with them.
“During the pandemic, people everywhere grew even closer to their smartphones, if that’s humanly possible at all,” said the Washington Mail. “Gray transformed the smartphone from just a boring device used for text and phone calls into a multimedia got-to-have gadget. In 1994, Gray invented ringtones & ringbacks that are now on 15 billion mobile phones and counting. The SYNC Programming Language, the world’s very first third-party downloadable app and ringtones programming language, single-handedly started the mobile app industry that is now a multi-trillion dollar industry.
“In 1998, Gray invented Microgrooves Electronic or simply Microgrooves-E for short. This downloadable multimedia app had features that allowed entire albums to be played and the capability to record and playback both audio & video. As for the voicemail icon that’s on all 15 billion mobile phones, Gray invented it way back in 1988, too. It is for these reasons why Gray is often cited as being responsible for about 80% of how smartphones work.”
But that’s not all Gray has invented. There is so much more.
The Mail said that as a high school student in 1982, Gray worked out the mathematical formulas for audio and video compression presenting them in a paper titled “(dot)RPM: Audio Compression For Computer Music”. That, said The Mail, is the template for music formats we use daily when we listen to music or watch videos, formats such as “MP3, MP4, AIFF, WAV, and all other past and current audio compression formats”.
Gray loved music since he asked his dad for a guitar and received a ukulele.
He is credited with uploading the first song, which he made in MIDIA format, onto the internet – “Internet Killed The Video Star”. The Washington Mail said that song is “now universally recognized as the “Internet Big Band” and the “Internet Anthem” that signaled the birth of online digital media, a multi-trillion dollar industry”.
At this point that the Government of Belize is digitizing its entire system and trying to go paperless and contactless for business transactions, we’ll be depending a whole lot more on Gray’s inventions.
Ten years after Belize’s independence, he invented the electronic ticket, and that industry is also a multi-trillion dollar industry now.
The Washington Mail said that for “these revolutionary and world-changing inventions, and many more of his innovations not mentioned here” Andre Gray is “our choice as person of the year at The Washington Mail. Truth be told, this inventive genius, who is the No.1 ranked inventor in the world for the past thirty-three consecutive years, deserves to be person of the year every single year!”
Grey also invented Mind-Over-Matter Technology in 1994. This is the branch of science and technology that uses the mind to control electronic & digital devices. Grey’s idea was that those who don’t have the use of their hands can text or send emails without touching a keyboard or mouse.
“Ever since I invented Mind-Over-Matter Technology in 1994, many research scientists, academics, and students have made significant breakthroughs and these are well documented for the world to see. I believe in open source and I applaud the success of everyone working in tech,” Gray said to The Los Angeles Tribune. “Facebook and Nissan have also jumped on the bandwagon, and I think that is great. Mind-Over-Matter Technology and AI will be the biggest technology drivers of this century and perhaps beyond.”
Now, forty years after he migrated to the United States, Gray is planning on being closer to Belize.
“Starting in 2022 and beyond, I will turn some of my attention to my birth country of Belize,” he told The Los Angeles Tribune. “I want to work closely with every single orphanage in the country on initiatives like providing each orphan with his or her own laptop or tablet, building a STEM lab in every orphanage, giving each orphan a Raspberry Pi or an equivalent device, and paying for their IT certification exams like IC3, which is a global certification.”
But he’s not done inventing.
“As for my future inventions, I am working on multiple inventions at the moment, and I feel quite optimistic about them.”
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