terça-feira, 7 de setembro de 2010

Is this what we call "madness"?

Here I am, another mind trapped in itself and its states, reflecting an ordinary story. Trapped in time and limited in space, I strive to reveal my very own coordinates after the wild wind. To do so, without abiding by cultural references, I stray between the abstract and the literal, often confusing them as a single universe. But they must be a mirror to each other, as certain as the fact that the ability to extend this logical flow for more than a paragraph does not exist in me. Is this what we call "madness"?

domingo, 25 de abril de 2010

Notes on the Simulated Binary Crossover Operator

The Simulated Binary Crossover (SBX) is a well known variation operator for genetic real-valued optimization. It's surprising that I never came to implement this before, since I've been working with GAs for three years.

This is a remarkably elegant operator which was specifically designed to preserve the properties of the one-point crossover used for binary-coded GA optimization:

1) The average of the generated values is approximately the same of the original values before crossover; and

2) The probability of a spread factor value of betha = 1 is higher than for other spread factor values, what yeilds a stationary crossover operator.

That's such a great thing that I'm finally merging it into my NSGA2 implementation for numerical optimization benchmark. To find out more, go through the following slides:

segunda-feira, 19 de abril de 2010

A conversation about "Post-scarcity Economy"

*Join this conversation in Google Buzzhttp://bit.ly/9nI34V
*Read the full @EOTomorrow reporthttp://edgeoftomorrow.wordpress.com/reports/eot-report-2/

I've never envisioned nanoassembly being used in large scale to produce goods for all of us. That's such an exciting possibility!

But then, when it comes to AI surpassing human-level intelligence to the point of self-assembling everything we need and solving the majority of humanity grand challenges, what will be the purpose of our continued existence?

In the philosophical aspect, if we want to survive as a species, I think we have to figure out a way of addresing this question, otherwise, how are we supposed to live in a society in which we have everything we need?

Understanding social dynamics is like classifying all intricate patterns emerging from peer-to-peer interactions, but since the energy that drives such interactions is deeply related to each individual level of dissatisfaction, we urge to figure out new energy sources to input into the system.

In this regard, I totally agree with Stoddard when he says that we can take the step of "start using the resources of space". It's like saying: "hey, we don't have to keep living in this boring planet". I think this will not only mitigate the risks of human-extinction by catastrophical events, but will allow for keeping us interested in our own existence on this universe. 

Not to mention the possibility of merging us into the new technology so that the "Homo sapiens" species as we know it would be a far remembrance. This would make us integrated enough with machines to not having to worry about our old-fashioned pre-transhumanist needs of satisfaction.

Man, what a great topic to think about.


Find out more in http://edgeoftomorrow.wordpress.com/reports/eot-report-2/

domingo, 18 de abril de 2010

EOT Report #2: The Post-scarcity Economy: What is it & how do we get there? – An interview with Jason Stoddard

04/18/2010 · Leave a Comment
Edge of Tomorrow Report - 4.18.2010
an interview with Jason Stoddard
by Wade Inganamort (@swadeshine)
Jason Stoddard is a writer, blogger, and self-proclaimed “evil marketer”. He is a Writers of The Future contest winner and has two books, “Winning Mars” and “Eternal Franchise” due for publication this year – as well as the story “Overheard” in “Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic SF“.
Click here for the interview and commentary.

domingo, 11 de abril de 2010

The Girl Effect

What if there was an unexpected solution to poverty, AIDS, hunger, war?
Would you even know it if you saw it?

Learn more by watching this video by http://girleffect.org :

Description of the project taken from their Youtube profile:

The Girl Effect: The powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society.


Because when adolescent girls in the developing world have a chance, they can be the most powerful force of change for themselves, their families, communities and nations.

But while those 600 million girls are the most likely agents of change, they are invisible to their societies and the world.

So what can you do about that? Get yourself seen, whether you're a girl or just believe in girls. Tell us when your voice is posted, and we'll add it here.

If you're ready to learn and do more, head over to girleffect.org.

terça-feira, 6 de abril de 2010

Singularity University na CBN

Ouça o comentário de Ethevaldo Sirqueira sobre a Singularity University na Rádio CBN na última terça, 6 de Abril.

Ele comenta sobre o envolvimento do Google no sentido de apoiar o projeto da instituição, lista os professores "celebridades" que ministram aulas na SU e fala sobre a visão e algumas previsões de Ray Kurzweil, presidente da SU e autor de diversos livros sobre a Singularidade tecnológica.

Ethevaldo afirma ainda que marcou uma entrevista com Kurzweil em Las Vegas durante uma conferência no qual o mesmo participará.

Estarei atento aos próximos programas para postar o que for posteriormente publicado sobre a SU, assim como a entrevista com Ray Kurzweil.

O comentário pode ser ouvido diretamente no site da CBN através do link http://bit.ly/cxr8Rt


sexta-feira, 2 de abril de 2010

Acceptance to Singularity University GSP 2010

Yesterday I heard from SU (http://singularityu.org/) that I've been accepted for the next Graduate Studies Program 2010. This turns out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me. I really need to be challenged at this point of my life. I'm at the constant need of significantly contributing to society and this seems to be the perfect opportunity.

Now I shall wait until monday to contact many people in order to raise funds for my participation in the program. I'm confident that I'll get through it. Although I don't know many wealthy companies which could be willing to support me in this goal, I know the path to convince a few among those I know. Basically, I'll offer them my expertise and commitment on engaging them in a few valuable projects that may come out from my participation in GSP'10.

Whatever is the outcome of this, there still gonna be great chances of being awarded a full scholarship from SU and its partners. 

One thing is for certain --- I'll not give up until I get there, in the place that I've dreaming about since a long time with the people who, soon or later, will make the difference in this world by improving the living condition of thousands if not millions or billions of people around the world. I don't only want to be there when this happen, but to be part of it and to see the magic being spread over the ones who need it the most.

More on this exciting news by tomorrow evening.


sexta-feira, 26 de março de 2010

EOT Report #1: “Fixing Cognitive Biases to Shape the Next Generation of Humans“

(Originally posted on EOTomorrow)
Edge of Tomorrow Report - 3.25.2010
an interview with João Fabiano (translated from Portuguese)
by Carlos R. B. Azevedo (@crbazevedo)
João Fabiano is a journalist, philosopher, specialist on cognitive bias, and the founding member of the Analytical Philosophy research group of Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.
He has been researching “Philosophy of the Mind and Transhumanism”, in which he focuses on methods to address cognitive deviations from rationality that pose risks for society, possibly leading to dangerous loss scenarios for humanity. Such methods are mainly based on modelling rationality through algorithms or on treating such biases with the usage of neurochemicals.
Click here for the interview and commentary.

sexta-feira, 26 de fevereiro de 2010

What is an expert?

There is an undergoing discussion on how do we define an 'expert'. Here it is my view on the topic:
(Note: originally posted on http://bit.ly/cTydOg)
The basic assumption behind the concept of being an ‘expert’ — which, based from the above comments, it seems everyone agrees — is that there should be a *learning process* that makes such entity distinguished from the ones who haven’t acquired the same level of knowledge or skill.
Thus, one can conclude that an ‘expert’ is a system who have improved its performance based on its learning experience. Note that this is exactly the standard definition one would find by studying “Machine Learning”, a subarea of AI and statistical pattern recognition. However, how does one assess the ‘performance’ of a system? Although that’s not so simple, it’s not that difficult, as there are a variety of metrics one can use to precisely measure the ‘reliability’ of a diverse range of claims made by an ‘expert’.
In this sense, I fully agree with @Openworld comment above in that we should focus on the outcome of the process itself. That is, pick a definite preformance metric and we won’t need to rely on ‘common sense’ to know whether one really knows what he/her is ‘talking about’.
Everyone can do that at home.

My contribution to "Is Computer Science a Misguided Field?"

This is my answer to Amir Michail recent inquiries in Google Buzz. Amir has posted a nice set of questions that make us stop to wonder whether we're on the right track in terms of CS education. In his original post, he wrote (originally posted on http://bit.ly/dp8WKW):
Computers are interesting because you get to invent new applications that change the world.

By focusing on efficiency and correctness of programs, doesn't computer science completely miss the point as to what is interesting about computers? 
By contrast, consider the field of computer games where game design is a key aspect of study. Why isn't there something like that in the more general field of computer science? 
Where's the application level creativity? Why focus only on implementation issues? 
What do you think?

Here it is my follow-up on this thread:

On what Computer Science (CS) is about (and what it isn't)

Interesting discussion. CS is about complexity theory, computability, algorithms, data structures, automata theory, quantum computation science, formal languages and much more. There's a whole theoretical background that is unique to CS.

Definitely, there should be separated majors, such as Software Engineering or Data and Information Management, in order to avoid misconceptions and to address industry's specific needs.

In short, CS is a basic science in wich we can learn about modelling the complex processes that occur in Nature by using abstract mathematical tools. The models we construct in CS (basically, algorithms) have to (i) be given formal descriptions and proofs; (ii) have its fundamental properties investigated (complexity bounds, completeness, etc.); and much more.

So, CS is a basic science and other sciences can benefit from it by using its outocomes. An example of this is Artificial Intelligence. Although it first got inspiration from early mathematical models of the brain (neuroscience), it became clear thereafter that the 'algorithimic' way of modelling natural processess would be fundamental to AI. Today, AI is commonly regarded as a standard discipline in CS, though still multidisciplinary.

Why not segregate the lots of teaching contents flooding CS students minds into separate majors?

Furthermore, let's not forget the revealing quote of a prominient computer scientist:

"Computer Science is no more about computers than Astronomy is about telescopes" Edsger Dijkstra

That summarizes well what CS is definitely not about.

I believe that multidisciplinarity should raise from a well planned reform in the graduate educational system, instead of requiring that a CS major covers every single topic from software engenieering to computation theory. Both are, separetedly, deep and complex enough disciplines to be studied in their own terms.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsger_W._Dijkstra

On Creativity

With regard to creativity, well, I'd say that computer scientists need to be creative as much as mathematicians and physicists do. There's no difference in coming up with a novel algorithm and discovering a fundamental power law in a complex system.

So, yes, you need much creativity to work on CS, no more nor less then in other related areas.

On the role of Game Design and related areas on CS

Now, why do I think game design (GD) does not play a significant role in CS? Because game design is an application of CS. Although there are many CS researchers who focus in GD, they are just aplying the standard tools of CS to modelling new useful algorithms for the problems they are working on in the area. So, again, GD 'uses' the 'know-how' and tools provided by CS.

As a perhaps useful analogy, think about CS as the 'Kernel' of an operating system (OS), which provides all the basic functioning to the system, and GD as one of the many 'services' provided by that OS which uses the basic kernel units. That is, GD is closely related to CS, but there is much more about it than just CS and, thus, I'd say that there's no need to consider studying GD in a basic CS curriculum, though it might be interesting to CS practicioneers, just like other disciplines.

In short: I'd say that GD is on the same level of AI, Database Management, Programming Languages and so on... that is, all those disciplines are 'users' of the core knowledge that exists on CS.

sábado, 6 de fevereiro de 2010

My view on Michael Anissimov's post on "Accelerating Future"

(Note: originally posted on: http://bit.ly/aeTIYZ)

Dear Michael,

I personally believe there's a subtle difference between "existence" and "usefulness". The latter is generally measured by the level of interest within a group of individuals towards new technologies.

The fact is that, virtually, we have now all the capabilities to come up with any innovation we want from RK's list for 2009. Just give us enough time, budget and an experienced team of engineers. So, in terms of "usefulness", I would not take any of RK's predictions for granted but rather point out that the the vast majority of his predictions either have been already implemented (even as incipient prototypes) or are potentially plausible within a few years, albeit those may slightly vary on the fundamental principles governing them.

But then, it will most probably require some marketing efforts to convince people to actually consume such innovations. We still have to demonstrate what the benefits are for those who eventually would be willing to trying such new inventions and radical changes.

Unfortunately, there is still much room for us to improve socially and politically before we can set up the scenario wherein the different range of plural societies will be able to fully benefit from such technologies. Globalization and economical development would indeed help for that matter. However, this might not be so simple as it seems. We must first solve the conflict of interest which remain among many cultures.

That said, I attribute the small mistakes done by RK in terms of dates (for + or -) to the lack of (or surplus of) interest from all societies on the technologies that we are, without doubt, ultimately and fully capable of manufacturing.

Please, let me know whether this makes any sense for you.

Carlos R. B. Azevedo
Recife, Brazil