[Thoughts] Autonomous Robots with Automated targeting and firing

I visited Tel Aviv last month, for a conference and for a day of talks celebrating the 60th birthday of a profesor. During the organized tour of the campus, we visited a robotic lab. The boss of the lab was very proud to announce that some of his robot where already patrolling the Israelian border. Those are "only" autonomous video cameras, with humans checking the screen, but it would be very easy to mount a gun and an automatic targeting system on it. This gives another dimension to the following quote from my personal collection:

> Drones will cause an upheaval of society like we haven’t seen in 700 years
> "With robot armies, the few will be able to do whatever they want to the many"
> http://qz.com/185945/drones-are-about-to-upheave-society-in-a-way-we-havent-seen-in-700-years/

This kind of ideas are in complete contradiction with the sequence of articles inundating my news feed about the imminence of universal minimum salary brought by the robotisation of the society. I doubt that robotization will make water (the next scarse recourse) easier to obtain (alternate sources of energies for desalinization maybe, but not exactly robotics), nor will it be flexible enough to deal with the disastrous brought by climate change. On the other hand, a minority of very riche people might bet on the ability of robotization to allow a small society to build their own independent island of comfort in a world of complete chaos.

I had those paranoid ideas for years. They seem less and less paranoid each year which passes. Other than taking anti-depressants every day or to bury my head in the sand, I don't know what to do. The real solution is to educate the people, and I am already working on this aspect, but it is a long term solution, when the problem seems to be in the short term?

My fear is under control but is still fear.


[Thoughts] War is coming

War is coming.

Trouble is coming, in the shape of abrupt climate change, in the shape of a new technological revolution causing massive unemployment, in the shape of overpopulation, whatever. There are people who see the trouble coming, who can see the solution, and who prepare for the two historical ways to reduce population, war and disease, maybe combined into a single solution.

They are better. They congratulate themselves on having bred a new race of humans, more clever and more healthy: they have become so superior to "the others". Maybe they forgot that others before them had this dream, or maybe they find it justified to take their turn at the oppressing game, or maybe they just think that this times it's different because it's true. Or maybe they just know that those had only borrowed their dream, and badly implemented it.

They have every reason to win. They have developed robots to patrol their borders. They have armed drones, built in robotic factories, along with everything they need, they won't need "the others" anymore. But what after they win? What kind of victory will it be, to iterate endlessly through those cycles of violence and suffering? Because, if they win and continue as by this long tradition that they are so keen to preserve and to protect, why would not they grow again, and get into trouble again?

Would not it be better to break this cycle and to find, now and here, a balance, a sustainable way of life?


[Thoughts] Y.A.N.A.

1) Do you recognize yourself in these words?

I wanna have control
I wanna a perfect body
I wanna a perfect soul

What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

2) Do you know a song with those words?

- The song has been described as expressing 'self-lacerating rage'.
- You can play this recent reprise.
- You can read the lyrics.

3) Do you know how popular the song has been?

- "Towards the end of 1992, DJ Yoav Kutner played (it) incessantly on Israeli radio."
- It's like if many people had those words in their mind, on their heart, running in a loop, connecting deeply to this song.
- The song has two characters: the "special" and the "creep", the "beauty" and the "beast". Anyone connecting with the "creep" is also so very "special".

Y.A.N.A. = You Are Not Alone

Even if you feel like a creep.


[Thoughts] Super Smart Heroes in hiding

Do you have a voice in you which says something like 

“you suck at everything and you don’t deserve to be here and nobody likes you because you suck. Boy do you suck. You are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.”?

Will Wheaton has a voice which says exactly that, and he talked about it at a Mensa convention:

(The transcript is available at

While not really a fan of Wheaton (but then, my view of him is probably biased by his character on the TV show "Big Bang Theory"), I really liked his text. Beyond the parts about depression, I liked even more the part about his apocalyptic vision of smart nerds surging as heroes:

You are the superheroes we need. But the world doesn’t know it yet. But they will. And something cataclysmic will occur, and the world will cry out, “who will save us?” And I need you to be ready to burst out of the crowd, rip open your shirt to expose your true identity and say proudly, “I’m ready! I am the SUPERHERO YOU NEED!”

I don't know for you, but I have already been preparing for this day ;)


[Travels] Back in Santiago

I am back in Santiago, Chile.
It is colder than in France (it is winter here) but not as cold as I expected: I came back home in Tee-shirt, my whool pullover in the backpack and my winter jacket at the office.

My eyes were etchy and I had a light headache, but I would rather blame the lack of sleep (4h in the plane) than the pollution : the air seemed reasonably clean on my first day back (even though there was this  HUGE column of smoke next to the airport : I assume it is water?). 

The university students have been on strike for the whole month that I was abroad, my preparations for a final exam / social event on the day after my return were not needed: we don't know when this will happen. I found surprising announcements on the public board! (I found Chile to be very conservative sexually speaking, hence my surprise and curiosity regarding this kind of announcements.)