“My name is Walter O’Brien, and I am a genius. Einstein had an IQ of 165. Mine is 197,” begins the trailer of the new CBS show "Scorpion," based on the life and journey of Wexford-born child prodigy Walter O’Brien.
O’Brien is the CEO of Scorpion Computer Services – a company he founded at age 13 that works primarily with international security. With his team, the 40-year-old superhero of sorts has worked to help stop wars and catch terrorists, quietly saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.
In an interview with IrishCentral, he asked, “Do you know the phrase, ‘God invented whiskey to stop the Irish from taking over the world?’
“Well, I don’t drink.”
All of this is outlined in the new series, which will air on September 22. It centers on an eccentric mastermind and his international team of super-geniuses who form a line of defense against threats of the modern age. British actor Elyes Gabel stars as O’Brien.
A child prodigy, O’Brien allegedly hacked into the NASA computer systems at age 13, which he leaves unconfirmed. This was about the time he began winning computer coding competitions: he represented Ireland in high-speed problem-solving at the 1993 International Olympiad in Informatics.
“I am extremely left brain dominant, probably 95% – 5%,” he told IrishCentral. “The feeling side of my brain is not really strong. Problem-solving, inventing, hacking and coding is more of an adrenaline rush of endorphins rather than a feeling.”
“It’s always been a vocation, not a job – believing what I was born to do and why I was put on the planet. And nothing else comes close; it’s pretty much this or nothing.” O’Brien also enjoys getting this adrenaline rush by racing Lamborghinis.
He also works as a "think tank for hire" providing intelligence on demand as a concierge service for funded challenges of any sort, from anyone in the general public.
School days in Ireland weren’t easy for O’Brien: “I didn’t fit in at school and I didn’t fit in at home and I didn’t know why. I was often lonely,” he told the Irish Daily Mail. He grew up with four siblings on a farm in rural Ireland.
When his parents bought him a computer at age 12, he began immersing himself in technology and the study of robots. “I was in the middle of nowhere on a farm where it was raining 90 percent of the time, and I was bored. There’s that, or robots. Which would you choose?” he asked IrishCentral.
High IQ is hereditary, and O’Brien believes that his genius may trace back to Brian Boru, whom he has concluded was a textbook ‘genius’ due to his ‘extreme behavior.’ O’Brien also believes he had a genius grandfather referred to as ‘the Sherlock Holmes of Ireland,’ who was shot in a bank robbery.
In 2001 O’Brien was granted permanent residency in the US with the E11 Visa, which recognizes foreigners who show extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education or athletics, normally given to the likes of famous artists, Nobel Prize winners and public figures. He has lived in Los Angeles for fifteen years.
Scorpion Computer Services, founded in 1988, has invented world-altering technologies including the ‘Scenario Generator’ or ‘ScenGen,’ a system that generates 1.6 million test scenarios per second, or 250 years of man work every 90 minutes. This was used to help identify the Boston bombers.
They’ve also devised technologies for hospitals that monitor prescription drug dosages for patients, which has stopped many deaths due to the administering of conflicting prescriptions.
With a degree in Artificial Intelligence from Sussex University in England, O’Brien is also a part of the ‘2045 Initiative,’ which is based on the philosophy that within decades we’ll be able to upload our thoughts and memories onto hard drives and be able to recycle our bodies.
“If you’ve made enough money where you’re not worried about the rent or survival, you start asking yourself why you’re on this planet. Your point is to do the most good you can before you die – well I could do more good if I didn’t die.
“You’ll be able to email your consciousness to yourself, and then wake up on the other side of the world through something like a rent-a-body. You can get the Angelina Jolie special and be her for the day,” he joked.
A producer of the new CBS series, O’Brien told IrishCentral that he is using the show as an awareness campaign to find more geniuses to work for him, and also to raise understanding about child geniuses and their seclusive ways.
Watch the trailer: