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Francisco J. Vico
Showing computers their way to higher functions.
Showing computers their way to higher functions.
Francisco J. Vico's posts

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Even if religions promise you an endless life, the physical world (sort of a sphere, traveling in the dark emptiness) has limited resources, we know that for a fact. Considering the possibility that human population rises up forever, there would be still a limited portion of those resources for each individual. And children learn in the school that any positive number divided by infinity equals zero. Such is the portion that you should expect as the population grows and grows. So, welcome to reality: basic maths and physics shows that individual consumption of the air, water and food that make up our bodies and keep us moving (let's take fancy clothing, luxury cars and mobile phone technology out of the equation for a moment) is simply not warranted if human population keeps scaling exponentially. Just think of a fruit colonized by mold which, at some point, simply collapses. Luckily enough, we are not mold, those simple, brainless filaments that unwittingly take up resources, ignorant of the very basics of division and partition.

Now, if we can move the entire humanity to an infinite planet, that pretty much changes the approach!

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Paraphrasing Douglas Adams, we could argue that if anyone ever discovers what politics are for and why they are here, they will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more unfair and subjugating. The art of the politician is in subduing the population, in a subtle way, without noticing.

Last night's dream was about nuclear weapons testing. It happened right here, in the bay of the city where I live. It was scheduled and everyone was attending, aware of the fact that radiation would kill them, but anyway expecting the explosion like fireworks. Surprisingly (it was a dream), nothing would be seen, this kind of test would not produce a mushroom cloud, nor any noise. Instead, it would just go through all of us, and only some waves in the steady water could be seen.
It was a beautiful metaphor of the threat that the world is exposed to: nuclear risk is at its highest level (it's not in the headlines, but yep), and banking is investing tons of money in this armament.
May be it's just a coincidence, but last week I joined ethical banking, and pretend to completely withdraw from traditional banking.
Or... may be it's not a coincidence.

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Be it neural recordings, a jazz session, electromagnetic radiation, or a DNA sequence, to the eyes of some physicists, they all look... pink!

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Escribo esto entendiendo que quien lo recibe está comprometido con el buen funcionamiento de las instituciones públicas.

En esta ocasión, nuestra preocupación se debe al caso de plagio atribuido al rector de la universidad pública Rey Juan Carlos, ampliamente cubierto en prensa independiente. Todos conocemos la tibia respuesta del rector​ y el desgaste que el silencio del ministerio y resto de instituciones está causando a la universidad española.

El futuro del actual rector está en manos del claustro de la ​U​RJC y nada tengo yo, profesor de la Universidad de Málaga, que exigirle. Pero siento, como quizás también tú, vergüenza ajena ante mis alumnos y el resto de la sociedad.

En efecto, no hay mucho que pueda hacer, pero en la medida en que mi figura tenga presencia en la UMA, quiero dejar clara una postura de rechazo a la atribución personal de material publicado, por parte de investigadores o docentes, particularmente cuando se trata del máximo representante de una universidad. Por eso incluiré un icono en mi página ​y todos los mensajes ​institucional​es,​ que también colocaré en la puerta de mi despacho.

​Quizás no arregle el problema en la URJC, pero sí deja clara mi postura respecto a ese problema.

Gracias por ​tu tiempo y​ (​seguro​)​ simpatía.

Francisco Vico
Catedrático de Ciencias de la Computación e Inteligencia Artificial
Universidad de Málaga


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When something is about to change, there's always a reason for that to happen. New inventions that have transformed our world (really), derived from the envisioning of someone, and his determined will to make that change actually happen. But, what's the driving force here? To fetch a "better world" (whatever means "better") is a classical explanation, but many cases have been identified where it was avarice, plain and simple. Well, yes; scientists, inventors, pioneers, are also people, and they might easily move from daily needs to greediness to avarice. And there is an infrastructure to support that: capitalism. Just by promoting your project as a company, you'll pay lower taxes. An incentive to generate jobs, and also to get richer, particularly in a time where, more and more, machinery (not people) is in charge of production, dramatically lowering costs, and augmenting benefits.
So, we could ask ourselves if any progress would take place in a non-capitalistic world. Funny enough, the technology of most of the big IT companies sits on free open-source software (like GNU/Linux), and their knowledge comes in part from a free encyclopedia. Both projects have been promoted and executed by non-profit communities. So, yes: some progress might still happen without avarice.

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It goes like this: you favor your family members, you favor the neighbors in your community, you favor people in your town or county, in your country, even in your region or continent. In this precise order, meaning that you will support someone that is closer against others that are further away. So, depending on the context, a neighbor could be your ally, or your enemy. If it concerns a claim to the town-hall, then you both play in the same team, but if if affects your home, then you are likely to be confronted.
A similar behavior is found in neuromorphic circuitry, emerging from a pattern of connection known as lateral inhibition. Indeed, neurons tend to excite or inhibit other neurons depending on how far or close they are. We basically perceive the world thanks to that very principle. Edges in an image, for example, can be seen because retinal cells get active when a faction of them are stimulated by light, while a neighboring region is less stimulated. Neurons form groups (they get assembled) all the time depending on the input, i.e. the external conditions. Not only in the first layers of perception, but also deeper into the cortex.
Once again, behaviors that project through different levels, sociology recapitulating physiology.

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One-to-one (or bijective) relations, are behind any isomorphism. A type of function that associates an element of a set with a unique element in another set, in a way that all elements get paired. The isomorphism has been proposed as a mathematical ingredient of intelligence; a mechanism to establish associations between entities not intuitively connected. Something the humans are always happy to try.

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Things tend to remain, keeping their state, being stable along time. Say the terrain, that landscape you've enjoyed for a lifetime; or the rules that govern people; or the decoration at home.
But things also change Sooner or later. And contrary to any intuition, they do it abruptly, pretty much like biological species do evolve. In an epic balance between the forces of progress and adaptation, and those that keep a steady state, more conservative.

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The world we see is made of small lines, in basically any orientation. From the retina to the deepest layers of processing in the visual cortex, this is what matters: deconstructing the image into basic features, that combine later on into categories that our brain can represent. A fascinating translation of highly complex forms into a geometrical language.
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