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An Interview with Andreas Gunnarsson on Family, Sweden, Student Life, Network and Computer Security Expertise, and Interests (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/03/01


Andreas Gunnarsson is a Member of the Giga Society. He discusses: family background; Ängelholm, Sweden culture in the late 1960s and 1970s; family environment; parents’ work life; schooling as a youngster; society memberships; favourite talented people; memorable experiences of student life; taking courses for intellectual interest rather than a degree; working as a network and computer security expert at Carlstedt Research & Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden; interests in cryptography, juggling, programming, puzzles, and skydiving; and the most challenging thing done.

Keywords: Andreas Gunnarsson, Ängelholm, Carlstedt Research & Technology, computer security, Giga Society, intelligence, Sweden, technology.

An Interview with Andreas Gunnarsson on Family, Sweden, Student Life, Network and Computer Security Expertise, and Interests: Member, Giga Society (Part One)[1],[2]*

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Original interview from October 20, 2016.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is your family’s background – culture, geography, language, and religious/irreligious affiliation?

Andreas Gunnarsson: I come from Sweden. The language is Swedish and I believe that Scandinavia in general is quite secular compared to many other places.

2. Jacobsen: You were born in 1969 in Ängelholm, Sweden. What was the culture like at the time?

Gunnarsson: I’m not sure how accurate my memory from my early days is, but I think it was quite open minded and inclusive.

3. Jacobsen: What was the family environment like for you?

Gunnarsson: I had a brother, a sister and two parents, and in general a great family environment.

4. Jacobsen: What did your parents do for work?

Gunnarsson: They owned a business where they both worked.

5. Jacobsen: Where did you go to school as a child and adolescent? Was the giftedness identified and nurtured early – at home and in school?

Gunnarsson: The school was not too far from where I lived. Most of my early teachers were good and helpful. For example, I was interested in astronomy, and the teacher I had in first to third grade spent quite a bit of her free time reading up on it so that she could engage in discussions and explain things to me. I found maths easy and got more advanced exercises when I finished the ordinary ones, but there was no other particular special education.

6. Jacobsen: You are a member in a number of high-IQ societies including Mensa Society, ISI-Society, and Giga Society.  Each more exclusive than the last, especially the Giga Society with a 1-in-a-billion rarity.

Gunnarsson: I think it is fun to solve problems and puzzles, and doing IQ tests on the net was a bit of a hobby for a while. I have my doubts about the validity of most online tests although I am not trained in psychology so that is just a layman’s opinion. Although I have many thoughts on IQ testing and even made my own test foritensum together with a friend to learn more, I defer to the experts in the field for accurate information and research.

The reason I took the test for Giga society – apart from seeing it as a challenging puzzle that I enjoyed spending time on – was that I was skeptical that it’s possible to measure or even define IQ at the level of one in a billion. One way to falsify the validity of the test would be if many people would take the test and pass.

7. Jacobsen: Who are your favourite living/dead artists, philosophers, and scientists?

Gunnarsson: I’m surprised how difficult I found it to answer this question. If I name a few then there are too many left out and if I list too many then it becomes meaningless. When it comes to philosophers and scientists there are of course many very well known names who have participated in building up the foundation of science that we take for granted today. When it comes to artists that tends to change over time and with mood. To mention one, I recently found Tim Minchin whose musical comedy I find hilarious and clever.

8. Jacobsen: In 1990, you began studying engineering physics at Chalmers University of Technology. You started, but did not complete, an M.Sc. What were the memorable experiences of student life?

Gunnarsson: It’s always fun to learn new stuff and it was great to meet so many intelligent people. I have heard some people say that they did not know how to study before attending University and it came as a big surprise. I share that feeling. As the courses got more advanced and I could rely less on prior knowledge I noticed that I actually had to put in quite a bit of effort which I wasn’t prepared for.

9. Jacobsen: Any recent plans to finish the M.Sc.?

Gunnarsson: Not really. I think that a degree is valuable in general, but it’s in my experience most valuable in the beginning of the career. When you’ve worked for a while it’s more important to have work experience. I imagine that an academic degree can be more important in some countries than in others, and it’s probably very good if you want to change field. And of course a requirement in academia.

That said, I do still take courses at Chalmers every now and then, but that’s not in order to graduate but just because they are interesting.

10. Jacobsen: You have worked as a network and computer security expert at Carlstedt Research & Technology, which is in Gothenburg, Sweden. What main capacities developed from this professional experience?

Gunnarsson: I was part of a team with a broad and deep knowledge in computer security and networking. My own main focus was cryptography which I found very interesting. Although I still think it is interesting I haven’t been working professionally with it for many years and I notice how easy it is to hold the illusion that I still know everything about the field while the reality is that I haven’t kept up and must be humble to that fact. That’s a reality check I try to apply elsewhere too – I’m just as affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect as everyone else. If you are an expert in something it’s easy to see how non-experts are mistaken because you see what part of the picture they miss. You must make a mental effort to turn that around and realize that unless you have spent a lot of time and effort in a scientific approach to something there will be big holes in your understanding that you am not aware of. That of course also applies if you are an expert but then your task is to find and investigate those holes that haven’t been explored yet.

11. Jacobsen: You have interests in cryptography, juggling, programming, puzzles, and skydiving. Does some personality trait unify these interests?

Gunnarsson: I don’t know about personality traits but I do like to try new things. In general it’s inspiring and engaging to start learning something new. It’s also rewarding to keep working on something when you’re really good at it but I prefer to have a mix and find new interests every now and then. Of the things in that list, programming is the only thing I still engage in on a regular basis.

12. Jacobsen: What is the most challenging thing you have ever done? Why it?

Gunnarsson: This is another surprisingly difficult question. Things can be challenging in different ways but I can’t think of anything that really stands out. I try to be outside my comfort zone as often as reasonable, but not too far outside it. I think that’s a good way to learn. So I’m usually confident that my challenges are feasible. Of course there are situations that you don’t choose yourself such as funerals which can be very emotionally challenging.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Giga Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 1, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020:

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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