Though widely known for his pioneering professional achievements across cyberspace and tech circles, Hal’s daily life paints a much more nuanced portrait. He was a devoted husband, father, accomplished Renaissance man.
Harold Thomas Finney was born in the spring of 56' in the small town of Coalinga, California. Hal’s father… was a long time employee of Union Oil of California… which supported the family’s relocation to a number of different places throughout his lifetime.
He initially pursued his BS in math, eventually transitioning to engineering. At the time there, there was no corresponding degree for computer programming - his true passion - so he made do by taking all the programming classes that he could.
He landed his first job in the summer of 1978 with APh, a small engineering firm founded by classmates.. four years prior. By that time, the company was well into a notable contract with Mattel for the design of their Intellivision system.
Around that time, Hal became quite active with the cypherpunks... His personal website included a few pieces that he wrote for publication on their electronic mailing list on the subjects of digital cash, the politics of privacy, anonymous remailers...
“PGP software is used by freedom fighters and journalists all over the world...to keep their notes confidential if their laptops get confiscated or if their e-mail is eavesdropped"
In early 2009, Jason noticed his father’s computer processor running 24-7 at full speed. “He mentioned that he was helping someone test a kind of prototype online cash system.That was how he thought of it. It wasn’t real, it was a test for a prototype.”
A long-time atheist, Hal had already read Robert Ettinger’s seminal book “The Prospect of Immortality,” and started following cryonics by his freshman year of college.
As many of Hal’s friends and family can attest, he was very optimistic futurist, who wholeheartedly supported change - yet another reason why cryonics held such appeal.
And in this moment when Coronavirus is wrecking havoc on our economies, bodies, and society, let's look to Hal and tap into his eternal source of optimism for the future.