It was today. He is a legend, 99 years old. He invented airbags so early, that his royalties would expire before they started to put them in cars. But earned a lot of money with his other inventions which are many. He knew everyone from Habsburgs to Yugoslavia’s royal family (as a child), Faruk of Egipt, almost every big European and some American businessmen, was a Chaplin’s neighbor in Switzerland ( as an adult)… A lot of photos of a lucky and brilliant man among the international jet-set.
He said he was lucky, I said that the luck is responsible for at most the half of it, the rest was his brilliance, which is genetic. Which is a kind of luck, too, I admit.
Many interesting anecdotes, but not as interesting as his cleverness in problems solving. Problems spotting at the first place, maybe. Where to substitute wood with plastics and make millions? How to spray perfumes? For hundreds of years, nobody bothered with this problem. But he did and solved it.
Then we spoke about AI. Which isn’t as clever as he was in his prime days, but it’s about to become. I didn’t formulate this so directly but he understood it anyway, I guess. I don’t think he believed that. Or even considered it remotely plausible for a second. I told him, that I am not promising him anything. Only that chess has fallen recently and that when chemistry will fall too, there will be no more medical problems anymore. He expressed some deep general pessimism then, which I hate to see, for may it be a bad omen. To whom express it.
His life minus his daughter’s tragic death was as good as a man’s life can be.