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The INTJ Personality Type

INTJs are analytical problem-solvers, eager to improve systems and processes with their innovative ideas. They have a talent for seeing possibilities for improvement, whether at work, at home, or in themselves.

Often intellectual, INTJs enjoy logical reasoning and complex problem-solving. They approach life by analyzing the theory behind what they see, and are typically focused inward, on their own thoughtful study of the world around them. INTJs are drawn to logical systems and are much less comfortable with the unpredictable nature of other people and their emotions. They are typically independent and selective about their relationships, preferring to associate with people who they find intellectually stimulating.

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What does INTJ stand for?

INTJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging. INTJ indicates a person who is energized by time alone (Introverted), who focuses on ideas and concepts rather than facts and details (iNtuitive), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). INTJs are sometimes referred to as Mastermind personalities because of their strategic, logical way of thinking.

How common is the INTJ personality type?

INTJ is the third rarest type in the population, and the rarest type among women (with ENTJ). INTJs make up:

  • 2% of the general population
  • 3% of men
  • 1% of women

Famous INTJs

Famous INTJs include Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Dwight Eisenhower, Alan Greenspan, Ulysses S. Grant, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov, Lewis Carroll, Cormac McCarthy, and Sir Isaac Newton.

INTJ Values and Motivations

INTJs are perceptive about systems and strategy, and often understand the world as a chess board to be navigated. They want to understand how systems work, and how events proceed: the INTJ often has a unique ability to foresee logical outcomes. They enjoy applying themselves to a project or idea in depth, and putting in concentrated effort to achieve their goals.

INTJs have a hunger for knowledge and strive to constantly increase their competence; they are often perfectionists with extremely high standards of performance for themselves and others. They tend to have a keen interest in self-improvement and are lifelong learners, always looking to add to their base of information and awareness.

How Others See the INTJ

INTJs are typically reserved and serious, and seem to spend a lot of time thinking. They are curious about the world around them and often want to know the principle behind what they see. They thoroughly examine the information they receive, and if asked a question, will typically consider it at length before presenting a careful, complex answer. INTJs think critically and clearly, and often have an idea about how to do something more efficiently. They can be blunt in their presentation, and often communicate in terms of the larger strategy, leaving out the details.

Although INTJs aren’t usually warm or particularly gregarious, they tend to have a self-assured manner with people based on their own security in their intelligence. They relate their ideas with confidence, and once they have arrived at a conclusion they fully expect others to see the wisdom in their perceptions. They are typically perfectionists and appreciate an environment of intellectual challenge. They enjoy discussing interesting ideas, and may get themselves into trouble because of their take-no-prisoners attitude: if someone’s beliefs don’t make logical sense, the Mastermind typically has no qualms about pointing that out.

INTJ Hobbies and Interests

Popular hobbies for the INTJ include reading, cultural events, taking classes, appreciating art, computers and video games, and independent sports such as swimming, backpacking, or running marathons.

Facts about INTJs

Interesting facts about the INTJ:

  • On personality trait measures, score as Discreet, Industrious, Logical, Deliberate, Self-Confident, and Methodical
  • Among types least likely to suffer heart disease and cardiac problems
  • Least likely of all the types to believe in a higher spiritual power
  • One of two types with highest college GPA
  • Among types with highest income
  • Personal values include Achievement
  • Of all types, least likely to state that they value Home/family, Financial security, Relationships & friendships, and Community service
  • Overrepresented among MBA students and female small business owners
  • Commonly found in scientific or technical fields, computer occupations, and legal professions

Source: MBTI Manual

Quotes About INTJs

"INTJs are the most independent of all the sixteen types and take more or less conscious pride in that independence."

- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing

"Difficulties are highly stimulating to INTJs, who love responding to a problem that requires a creative solution."

- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II

"Their capacity for intellectual and conceptual clarity gives INTJs both vision and the will to see it through to completion—leadership qualities that are prized in our society."

- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work

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Comments

Guest (not verified) says...

I've been looking for some credible statistics to back up your statement, "the estimated time it would take to randomly code the human genome to produce a functioning human is longer than the known existence of the universe. So a process other than random chance took place. " I know I have read or heard a similar statemtn somewhere, but hesitate to repeat such a bold statement without an article or two to site as reference. Any chance you could spot me one?!

Guest (not verified) says...

I am an INTJ female and I would consider myself spiritual. Like many INTJ's who went to church growing up, I started questioning it at a young age and picking apart all the aspects that didn't make sense to me (I remember doing this when I was 10 or so). However I never stopped going as a teenager as some probably did, mainly because I had a strong group of friends there and in a way it was my 'escape' from the more drama-ridden "friendships" I experienced at school or in other extra-curricular settings. Everyone needs a place to wind down right? Anyway, as an adult I am not a regular church-goer, but I justify my continuing spirituality on the basis that the atheist system of thought has never wholly made logical sense to me either. I feel more intuitively attached to spirituality, and I don't find it "less" logical than atheism from what I've seen. I never went in the direction of formally studying sciences, but science has always fascinated me and really, the more I learn about science the more it seems to "prove" the truth in religion to me rather than disprove it. However I also believe it's not something that can be entirely proven either way.

One argument I have heard from atheists is that if religion were "real", every society would have come up with the same one. My answer to this is that the divine exists beyond human understanding--we feel something intuitively that we can't really understand. The existence of many different religions isn't proof that they're all nonsense; rather it is proof that every society is trying, in its own way, to understand the same basic underlying truths that in fact can't be fully understood. Perhaps if these truth were simple and easily understood, all religions in all cultures would be the same. However because these truths are complex, each religion is able to capture only a small part of them, and of course each religion ends up corrupting and perverting them in its own way due to human folly.

Reply (not verified) says...

I found an interesting youtube video in which the presenter stated that the INTJ sets such a high ideal in their concept of relationship that they are likely to seek a connection with a mystical force or cosmic power, to paraphrase a little. I believe that to be true, and I believe that it is likely also to be true of the EN as well, from what I have read of them. The video was on the subject of INTJ functions which are hidden from the INTJ, not the primary or secondary functions..

Guest (not verified) says...

You should look into the book called "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. He is an intelligent man and originally was atheist. In his mission to disprove religion he became religious and has written numerous books. The content of the book is worth while and cleared the questions I had.

Guest (not verified) says...

If you read mere christianity carefully, you have to start with an assumtion to follow any of his logic.
it would of been more convincing if he were more t and less f.

JANIS GABBERT (not verified) says...

Not sure who you are referring to, God or Jesus or both? Of course, God and Jesus both have perfect T and also perfect F. I am a female INTJ age 66. My spiritual search was intense in the 1970s. I was raised Methodist but in 1970 I had a spiritual experience that left me desperate to learn the Truth. In 1981 I became a lawyer and also found a true Guru who taught me the Science of Religion. I have been loyal to my guru ever since, and blessed to be able to help other Truth seekers. For those who seek a deeper understanding of Jesus Christ, I recommend the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda and Self Realization Fellowship. THE YOGA OF JESUS is a good introduction to the "logic" of the Bible. The Bible cannot be understood with logic alone. Intuition born of meditation is also needed. For more information browse www.yogananda-srf.org or visit Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, CA.

Guest (not verified) says...

It's great to see some C.S. Lewis inspiration here in the INTJ corner. I suspect he was an INTJ, or close to it, as his reasoning behind religion appeals to our logic especially. 'Mere Christianity' is definitely a must-read for anyone who wants to see the bigger picture.

Guest (not verified) says...

Your experience exactly mirrors mine! C.S. Lewis was enormously helpful to me I. My spiritual quest.

Another INTJ (not verified) says...

I'm an INTJ and I neither believe nor disbelieve - I'm agnostic, can't make up my mind.

Not sure if it's classic INTJ or not, but I find I have issues believing anything definitively - sometimes I feel I am TOO open minded and TOO analytical, TOO logical. I also have a real problem with people saying things like they're for sure when they don't know that.

Guest (not verified) says...

An agnostic is an atheist without balls.

MetaKnight (not verified) says...

Your elitism/bias is showing.

Guest (not verified) says...

Testicles don't really have anything to do with it, it's a super positional belief that simply says the evidence is lacking to conclusively declare a belief or disbelief in the supernatural. I'm perfectly content realizing there are some questions which we may never know the answers to. I'd rather not dwell on it and move on to the next question that actually has relevance to me.

Guest (not verified) says...

I feel the same.

Emerald INTJ (not verified) says...

Nearly everyone, regardless of their chosen spiritual label (Christian, atheist, agnostic, etc.), does have a working hypothesis on this issue. Are you living your life as if a wrathful sky daddy is constantly scoring your actions and thoughts to determine your eternal postmortem destination? If not, you are not a believer, are you? If you thought there was even a 10% chance that you have a soul that will be judged and possibly condemned, nothing would be more "relevant" than knowing you're on the good list. Admit it, you have decided. We should always be alert & open to evidence contradicting any of our beliefs, but I think we should be honest, and brave, enough to own where we are now.

somebody (not verified) says...

One who does not fully understand the spiritual aspect of religion should not pose definitive and boastful loaded questions insinuating otherwise, flaunting their atheistic bias, as it reveals a true ignorance of the topic to those in the know. Your confidence in non-existance is displayed across your shallow cutting words, and your attempts towards humourous catch-phrasing, mundane and screaming for attention. Read, learn, experience, analyze, and understand before you blanket-summarize a subject of the depth of religion through disrespectfully formed words, or perhaps retake the type test as you're probably not an INTJ....and your flagrant, loose hypothesis-laiden verbiage of non-existance is base and antagonistic.

MetaKnight (not verified) says...

There is no wrathful sky daddy constantly scoring our actions and thoughts to determine our eternal postmortem destruction, you made all that up to feed your ego. You should also know not everyone thinks like you, deal with it.

Guest (not verified) says...

And if that spot where you are is undecided, then that is where you shall claim to be. If I do not have decent evidence going one way or the other, then I refrain from making my decision. Doing otherwise accomplishes nothing and is untrue.

Also, while many religions do use a form of scoring for good and bad deeds, the one who's god is typically thought of as a "sky daddy" does not. While believers of that religion would still strive to be good, it's simply for the belief that it's the right way to live. The matter of Heaven and Hell would already be considered a done deal.

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree with your last statement about religion, and I think the reason that most of us "don't" believe in it is just because it seems silly in a way, to someone who is so reliant on what they have experienced. I also think that anyone who just sits down and thinks about it seriously, it will become obvious to them that there is a God. One of the easiest ways for me to do this is by first arguing for it, assuming that it is true, and then arguing against it, assuming it is false, when I do this I feel like I understand the topic allot better than if I just debate it with another person.

Guest (not verified) says...

I think it is true that an INTJ wouldn't outlaw the possibility of a higher power, but as people who question established systems- like religion- and value independence I can't really see an INTJ following blindly either. I think an INTJ would have to come to their own understanding and rationale of the concept of a higher power, and perhaps that rejects traditional understanding. I personally don't believe in a higher power, but I like to think I'm relatively open minded to the fact that one could exist outside of my understanding. I guess I just think that we're never really going to know, and for me that's okay.

Guest (not verified) says...

Well said. As INTJs we are prone to consecrating the patterns we pick up on. As deep as we look into the inner workings of human behavior, we can still be embarrassingly wrong. Taking the measure of a man, evaluating the merit of a project or sizing up a situation is our stock and trade. However, communicating our beliefs is a fundamental shortcoming of our Type. We're introverted people. Others are alien to us. Or we're alien to them. The impressions we collect at first glance, can slowly take on a different form as we mature. It should be easy for an INTJ to comprehend and respect that the universe didn't evolve everything from a point the size of a period.

Guest (not verified) says...

I love that you debate with yourself in your head. I do too. I also play chess in my head - both sides.

bleaneg says...

Guest (not verified) says...

Yeah, I don't understand how one could possibly outlaw the existence of a higher power as a true INTJ.

Guest (not verified) says...

Me neither, since they want to understand what's behind the curtain.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am a female INTJ. I've seen behind the curtain. The news is good.

PaulNog (not verified) says...

One's first response to that white lie totally reveals whether or not you are wont to believe.

Guest (not verified) says...

Yeah me too!!

Guest (not verified) says...

An INTJ would never say that !

INTJ person (not verified) says...

I am also an INTJ. This completely describes me as I am very independent.

Guest (not verified) says...

I agree.... I was scared when I saw how accurate this was

Tiana Battistessa (not verified) says...

me to

Guest (not verified) says...

It's scary accurate and since I value privacy, I was scared for anyone to read it. I very rarely share this with anyone.

Guest (not verified) says...

I'm tremendously private and have contemplated how to delete my previous comment, after i posted it. Good thing I posted it anonymously... Evidently, I don't think through everything; guess I'll have to take the MBTI test again... (joke)

Guest (not verified) says...

Me too! I read this and thought: This person I've never met knows me better than I know myself. When I read INTJ stuff in general, I feel like I am reading my own biography, written by a psychologist who downloaded my brain to their own.

Guest (not verified) says...

omg this changed my life

Lam Pham says...

What do you do now ?

Fellow INTJ Male (not verified) says...

I agree. Knowledge of the various types has changed my life as well. Personality Types was (one of) the missing puzzle piece(s) I've been looking for. Additionally, there is some debate on whether or not personalities are developed or if it is something we are all born with. I believe the latter. If personalities could be changed or edited, the world would be out of balance. Understanding personalities is especially valuable for me in understanding why people behave the way they do; especially with the knowledge of and acceptance that most won't understand me. This is okay; this is not his or her choice or mine and I don't need everyone to understand me. With best intentions in mind, I am learning what and when something should be shared and with who and most importantly who not to share with. Some people are not capable of understanding and I do not mean this in a negative way. Due to the fact that ‘others’ actually can't understand I feel the reasoning for the lack of understanding is really not relevant. What is relevant is I know my role, whether others understand or not, and continue to edit the world around me, to my liking.

In regards to the INTJ descriptions, I fit perfectly. When thinking about INTJ's in leadership roles, again I agree, I realize not everyone can be good at everything and I prefer to be controlling all things relevant and have to issues allowing someone else to present my ideas as their own. My motivations in life seem to be entirely different than most other peoples; I ‘do’ because I ‘must’ and this isn't up to me. Hopefully some will relate to this 'gift' we've been given. Kind of an inside joke of the perceived genius relative to the outside perspective, it's a "gift" alright...haha. I also seem quite sensitive to being controlled; this is not something that I don't like or prefer, this is something that I cannot allow, if I believe I can control it anyway. I want to be #2, but I can't allow anyone or anything to control me. What does that make me ... hmm ... a leader? Whether I want to accept this or not, this is not up to me. I can not change. Yes, I expect everyone else to change... haha… any they will as they always have; this is a constant. I very well agree that there is possible that I may have lost my damn mind, but again ... this is also irrelevant and until I can measure an actual problem, I have no problem, it doesn't exist. On this ‘crazy’ topic, I recently watched the trailer of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' when Jack Nicolson was being interviewed by the physiologist. Doc said (equivelant), ‘do you think something is wrong with your mind, really?’ Jack replies, ‘Not a thing, Doc’. I can relate!

On another relatively similar note, I believe our existance-life-equation is actually quite balanced, regardless of all the drama, doom and gloom crap I see, read and hear. "People do not know what they do", wow, how true. I find quite interesting to ponder the needs we all have. This leads me to believe all things are perfect, from a cause and effect perspective, and it helps me to justify why things are they way they are and this is very comforting. I believe things are the way they are, because they have to be, otherwise they wouldn't be. I believe we are all equally important and all are required, even the perceivable 'crap of society'. With out them, we would be out of balance. I'm regularly impressed with how our physical laws apply to seemingly everything and I try to understand the 'net force' for all things. Nothing happens without force and it's a bit of a trigger for me when I hear someone try to convince me that something they said or did was for no apparent reason. I immediately think, “nothing is without reason, nothing happens without force”. And the ever-ongoing follow up question of 'Why?' presents itself. Why are you trying to convince me of this? Why? Why? Etc.

With this, now I can appreciate the lives some (all) people are required to live. I feel as if I should thank them, for playing the card they were dealt, because I'm happy I don't have to, but more importantly so my kids don't have to. All people contribute equally to the required net force of life. I remind my kids and myself of this nearly each time we pass a homeless person begging for money. Historically, I almost never give, but now feel I should. I’m not contributing to their problems. I want to make their live easier, because I get to live a great life of abundance and I realize I can improve theirs in their perspective, which is most important to them, regardless of my opinion of how I /we / others think they should live. Drink on, my people; be happy, if you think it’s best. This is what we all do and have in common. I need to admit that I am not much different and perfectly capable of making wrong choices that can lead me to undesirable places in life. For now, I learn from everyone around me and say my thanks for setting an example of how not to live for anyone who will look their way.

I often push people away from me for various reasons. However, when I analyze this as a problem in a system, I'm quite amazed on how non-random all events are and how I maybe missing the luster of life when I push people away. The unimaginable number of required events in history combined with an unfathomable duration of time required for any given moment in my (our/all) day is infinitely impressive. Everything that has ever happened was required to allow you to read my ramblings. I try to think about this when someone doesn't quite fit in my life, which is quite often. We as a species are possibly very immature and have only scratched the surface of a very small scratch on the surface of a very small scratch on the surface of the unknown. I can easily imagine our understanding of anything is really an illusion, we understand pretty much nothing, we only compare. Up to any point in life regardless to how meaningless is appears, I like to reflect and realize that this moment is what everything that has ever happened in the past has lead to, thus far.

On the topic of wealth, it is fascinating to me to realize how insignificant most things are. Wealth seems to be, understandably, a worldwide goal common amongst the population, but it seems to be imaginary and potentially created to provide a net force for society to strive or improve (or be controlled). In reality life has nothing to do with money and possessions and statuses and so one. Wealth is entirely to do with life's experiences and emotions, even for us robots. At any given moment, the richest person in the world may quite possibly be a child sharing an actual dirt/mud pie, made by his/her mother, with a sibling. In that moment, this person may have several ‘real’ problems in their lives' that seem imaginable to cope with, but I believe it is a possible that no one at that moment may be any richer.

Happiness is relative; it has a variable span, determined by the minimum and maximum happiness previously experienced, specific to the person. Sometimes it really is the small things that make the biggest improvements in someone’s life.
Life and all things are relative, infinite and nothing is random. In legal terms, those reading this now have ‘willful knowledge’ of my perspective. Do with it what you may, whether I am right or wrong, you now know a fraction of my perspective.

Kris Chamblee (not verified) says...

Until now I was sure the only long winded INTJs were myself with lack of sleep and the apostle Paul. Try sleeping for more than 2 hours a night, you will find it easier to condense words. Keep in touch, find me on Facebook. I intend to pick your brain on a theory.

Lindab (not verified) says...

Unbelievably brilliant. Thankyou!

Guest INTJ (not verified) says...

Interesting thoughts. If I can expound; personalities can be edited to a degree.  For instance, my earliest personality quizzes placed me as an introvert, but I've developed my extroversion capabilities to the point that quizzes are no longer can consistently place me in one group or another.  I still feel as though I'm an introvert, but I must also acknowledge that my personality is now also competently social. Myers Brigg presents percentages of each quality, (exe 51% introvert, 49% extrovert)... When I took the Myers Brigg earlier in my life my percentages were broader, now they are all within a few points of the middle because I chose to work on balancing my personality. I think with conciousness and the desire we can all change, but people seldom have either (for better or worse).

Rob in Cincinnati (not verified) says...

Thank you for this comment. I too have experienced something close to the same thing. However, may I suggest that you give the HEXACO personality inventory - revised a try. For me, it revealed that certain aspects of socialability are still very weak, while other aspects of extroversion have become stronger as I have worked on them (just as you have noticed with your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator scores). The HEXACO test is free and they provide you with a great breakdown of the results in .pdf format. You will need to buy a short book, "The H Factor of Personality" ($6-8 on Amazon) to help you interpret results, but I think it is well worth it. Here is the URL for the test: http://hexaco.org/hexaco-online. As you mentioned, earlier results of the MBTI pegged me as Introverted - but instead of a low score, my perception was that I am now closer to the 50% mean. My HEXACO PI-R revealed, however, that I am still quite a bit lower than the mean (my score was 2.81 for eXtraversion and the mean is 3.5. Of the four subcategories of eXtraversion (Social Self-Esteem, Social Boldness, Socialability, and Liveliness), only Liveliness was close to the mean. However, I was well below the 50% mean in all three of the other subcategories; and my Socialibility score of 2.25 is in the bottom 10% for all people taking the test where 3.63 was the mean. This insight made me rethink my perceptions of a higher Introversion to Extroversion score for the MBTI. I am squarely in the Introversion side of the scale obviously. My take away has been to conclude that personality traits are harder to change than most of us realize. We are who we are and can learn most after we accept it.

SHAYES (not verified) says...

I literally cried when reading this. This was the most beautiful thing I have ever read.

Felixtricks (not verified) says...

Explain your idea of net life force. Please.

Guest (not verified) says...

why did you write up your life story

Guest (not verified) says...

Why do you ask?

Ennoia (not verified) says...

I swear i read this and all the way through i was grinning ridiculously - it's as if you are me. Everything, even the way in which you ramble,my God, you are me.

Struth (not verified) says...

This is very strange as I am only starting to realise that I am different to most people

I cannot stand controlling people

I used to wonder why people didn't see the obvious sense of my ideas and why I had to try and convince them to do things my way which worked better.

Now I don't bother trying to convince people to do things my way. I finally understand that it takes all sorts to have a balanced world.

I am not motivated by money but I like money. I like making my own money not having someone else's money

I find it trying and tiring to be around a lot of women even though I like them they drain me

i love problem solving no matter how small. I really enjoy coming up with a better way of doing things and find it quite fustrating that people are happy to use old tech and are not interested in updating their knowledge

I can't understand why people don't see the value in improving how things are done. This is how we will reach the next level of human advancement

As for watching lazy leaders who just take and don't give back it drives me mad. Why become a leader if you just want to stick your feet on the table and have people do your biding. It seems that most leaders aim to be the overlords for their own gain not to improve things. I often find myself out of step with people and keep my thoughts to myself

As for the whole religion thing I just can't understand how perfectly intelligent people can believe the whole thing. Again keep this under wraps in general as I don't wish to offend people

It is a lonely world sometimes as I think too much and wish I could turn off my thoughts and stop questioning things and trying to understand people

It is nice to see that someone else has rambling ideas and thoughts and I am not completely on my own

Sometimes I am afraid if I ramble people will think I am a bit mad !

Thanks for sharing

(Anonymous) (not verified) says...

Oh my goodness, it's like you're speaking my mind.

I let every single person in the room speak first, I wait until someone asks for my thoughts or I'm sure that I'm sure that I'm absolutely and most certainly saying the most sensible thing in the room.

Often times I wonder if its odd, or wrong even to express my thoughts in a group... Mostly I get the 'oh here comes boss lady' look from people in the room. Some people who love to conform to norms, end up finding divisive ways to hit back at me because I think differently. I'm good with it though coz we're all different. I know they will go about it the wrong way and get back to the drawing board and eventually listen to reason (or best yet, chicken out)... A disappointing waste of time, but yes mistakes are good teachers and we all make them.

Pikachu Taliban (not verified) says...

I wouldn't say a bit, maybe entirely so is more suitable.

As an INTJ myself I have to scrutinize your post. It's a trait. Almost an urge, no impulse or maybe instinct.

Only because you can't command. And why would you assume that your on top when evidence suggests the other?

Yeah I know, bitchin right. It's paradoxical. I'd also like to share a recent quote that's stuck in my mind. "there are two types of people in this world. Those who believe there are two types and those that don't"

tsamhalc says...

Ah but we know that religion is the very reason, that reason in most is so stunted especially here in the good ole USA. What and who is more scary is the new game we're tacitly on board to play. That merely annoys me..where's the allegiance to honest action? Acting honestly on my thoughts has changed me from a potential mental case with too many unrealized potentialities thats what we have probability and computers for!

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