Past, Present and Future of AI

May 20th, 2017

Amazing panel, moderated by Diane Greene, at Google I/O ’17 about "Past, Present and Future of AI". Françoise Beaufays, Fei-Fei Li (@drfeifei), Fernanda Viégas (@viegasf) and Daphne Koller (@DaphneKoller) depict, in a truly insightful and "buzz free" way, what AI already can achieve and has the potential to become.

The whole panel is really worth watching. I selected some great sentences from Fei-Fei Li, mainly because they are less domain specific, hence easier to understand in isolation (at 8:18).


Around 2010, thanks to the convergence of the maturing of statistical Machine Learning tools, the convergence of big data brought to us by the Internet and by the sensors and the convergence of computing to more better hardware, these three pillars came together and lifted AI from the in vitro stage into what I call the in vivo stage. AI in vivo is where IA is making a real impact to the world.


It’s just the beginning. Every single industry that we see at Cloud Google is going to a transformation because of data, because of AI and Machine Learning and this is what I see as the historical moment… AI is going to impact and transform the field.


But I also do wanna say it’s just the beginning. The tools and the technologies we have developed in the field of AI are really the first few drops of water in a vast ocean of what AI can do. We cannot over promise but there should be tremendous excitement that we can do a lot of more work to make this AI in vivo happen.

Ransomware

May 13th, 2017

A huge ransomware attack is currently having most MD in the UK going back to paper and pencil. There are good reasons to imagine that it will eventually get worse in the future ;-)

Maybe it is the proper time to (re)read "AI and the fridge".

As for Wannacrypt, if you want to patch an old machine (XP, Vista or 2003 server), use this link.

Vote blanc

April 30th, 2017

Nous sommes manifestement entrés dans une forme démocratique étrange où il serait non seulement obligatoire de voter, mais également de voter pour le seul candidat envisageable. Il faut donc tous se mettre en marche, et dans la même direction, à la façon d’un troupeau de moutons… ou de lemmings.

J’ai fait l’expérience de rappeler sur Twitter que j’avais pris depuis plusieurs années la décision de voter définitivement blanc, car notre forme politique très indirecte et fortement pyramidale n’a plus de sens pour moi (et je l’imagine – au moins inconsciemment – pour la majorité, qui, de plus en plus rapidement après qu’elle a élu un individu, lui accorde un niveau de confiance inférieur à 15%). Me voici donc un méchant, inconscient de la montée du nazisme et de l’oppression brutale qui va s’abattre sur la veuve, l’orphelin, « le noir, l’arabe, le juif et le pédé ».

On dit que l’histoire éclaire l’avenir… encore faut-il l’utiliser à bon escient et ne pas s’aveugler, en se braquant ce puissant projecteur en pleine face. Il est très sain d’être vacciné contre le nazisme, et de faire une réaction allergique lorsqu’on détecte ses prémisses ; mais ce n’est pas une raison suffisante pour débrancher ses neurones et atteindre le point Godwin à la vue d’un nationaliste ou d’un facho d’opérette.

L’injonction du vote Macron est probablement la résultante de cette saine vaccination et d’une paresse intellectuelle qui l’est beaucoup moins : faire le bilan que notre mode démocratique est usé jusqu’à la corde obligerait à un travail inventif, à s’investir dans l’exploration des moyens de démocratie directe qui sont désormais accessibles à notre société maillée, comme les jurys citoyens ou la démocratie liquide ; à l’opposé, vaquer à ses occupations en imaginant que le paradigme en cours est une constante intangible et se doter d’une image personnelle favorable en « votant bien » tous les cinq ans est grandement plus confortable.

Prenons un peu de recul sur les excitations de campagne électorale, voire même beaucoup de recul car ma propre sensibilité vaccinale m’amène à craindre les foules qui acclament un leader, quelle que soit la forme de la foule et la motivation de celui qui la galvanise – elle m’amène également à railler gentiment ceux qui pensent, avec leur vote, arbitrer entre les sept plaies d’Ègypte et le concert de louange des anges.

D’un côté, donc, il y a le nationalisme du Front National. C’est nauséabond et ringard, basé sur un enfermement étriqué « dans les murs » justifié par la haine de celui qui ne nous ressemble pas – et qui, au passage, doit faire peur afin de justifier la protection d’un état fort. Dans les régimes récents, on peut le comparer à la troïka Trump, Putin, May. Si on cherche une vision longue, ce serait plutôt la démocratie israélienne, historiquement prise en tenaille entre les militaires et les religieux orthodoxes au prétexte du péril islamiste.

De l’autre côté, il y a la forme essentiellement opportuniste de En Marche. Je dois avouer que, si je n’écoute jamais Marine Le Pen, je ressens une forme de malaise à écouter Emmanuel Macron. Ce qu’il dit est essentiellement creux et bien-pensant, mais il y a quelque chose de plus profond que je peinais à analyser jusqu’à ce qu’une amie me mette sur la voie. Pour la petite histoire, elle a d’abord été enthousiasmée par Emmanuel Macron au point s’apprêter à monter une antenne de En Marche dans sa commune puis, de retour de vacances lointaines, elle a ressenti elle aussi une forme de gêne qu’elle a analysé en décortiquant les images : Emmanuel Macron prêche la bonne parole, il fait de la politique sur le mode de la harangue religieuse.

Le véritable choix n’est donc pas entre le nazisme et la démocratie, mais entre un nationalisme ringard et une démocratie très indirecte dirigée par un gourou.

Imaginons maintenant l’après ; le troisième tour : les législatives.

Si Emmanuel Macron est élu, En Marche deviendra un attracteur massif pour tout ce qui compte de dynamisme et d’opportunisme chez les socialistes et les républicains. Siphonnés par ce trou noir, il ne restera dans ces deux partis que les ringards et les vieux… qui assureront l’intérim avant fermeture définitive. Nous serons donc passé d’un système où les deux « partis de gouvernement » étaient le Parti Socialiste et Les Républicains à un système d’opposition entre le Front National et En Marche ; ce dernier, le parti du président en exercice, étant alors composé d’un assemblage hétéroclite qui tiendrait principalement en place par l’exercice du pouvoir et l’opposition « antifasciste ». Pour résumer, le Front National serait en majesté (puisque la principale raison d’être de En Marche est de lutter contre le FN), et parfaitement positionné pour les échéances futures.

Si Marine Le Pen était élue, la position providentielle d’Emmanuel Macron disparaitrait. Le gourou n’étant pas élu, la glu qui réunit la troupe de ses adorateurs disparaitrait et chacun retournerait dans sa « famille politique » ; les législatives permettraient alors aux partis classiques de revenir dans le jeu et de se coaliser pour mettre le front national en minorité à l’Assemblé. Comme ils savent que c’est le seul scénario qui leur permettrait de survivre, j’imagine par ailleurs que beaucoup de ceux qui ont affiché en public leur volonté de « bien voter », ne mettront pas un bulletin Macron dans l’urne.

Quoi qu’il arrive, notre démocratie est très ancienne ; son caractère très indirect est hérité d’une époque où les communications se faisaient à cheval et où la plus grande partie de la population était illettrée ; le rôle dévolu à son président avait peut-être du sens au siècle dernier, il est intenable dans l’environnement complexe d’une société mondialisée maillée par Internet.

« Bien voter » parce qu’on se réveille une fois tous les cinq ans en réalisant que « ça risque de mal se passer » est à la fois facile et gratifiant… mais c’est une solution fausse.

Il est urgent de s’impliquer dans l’invention d’une nouvelle forme démocratique, par exemple en créant une « shadow gouvernance » qui oppose à chaque texte parlementaire celui d’un jury citoyen, par exemple en testant et validant à une échelle suffisante les outils de vote de la démocratie liquide, par exemple en évaluant le gain en « intelligence collective » de citoyens qui, en s’impliquant dans ce type de démarche de citoyenneté active, évolueront vers une logique de « faizeux » (terme emprunté à Alexandre Jardin).

Quoi qu’il arrive, aucun président, député ou maire n’aura plus jamais mon vote. Je suis parfaitement conscient que nous entrons dans la période des monstres, mais aussi que le bulletin de vote, en tant que participation affichée à un mode de gouvernement d’un autre temps, est le meilleur moyen de les faire naître.

I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create – William Blake

S-1

April 17th, 2017

À une semaine des élections, il est de bon ton, puisque le Brexit n’a pas eu lieu et que Trump n’a pas été élu, de prétendre que Marine ne passera pas. Aux États-Unis, la méfiance est quand-même de mise, comme le prouve cette géniale émission Last Week Tonight avec John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) (HBO)

Comme "ne pas prévoir c’est déjà gémir", il est assez édifiant de consulter le tableau réalisé par l’équipe de TTSO et titré "ne croyez rien" où ils calculent le ratio "score réalisé / moyenne des sondages" aux dernières présidentielles :

Feeling like an elephant on a trampoline

April 8th, 2017

On Trump’s Mental State

February 23rd, 2017


In a letter to the editor published on February 14, 2017 on the New York Times’ web site, an eminent psychiatrist demurs on Trump’s mental state:

Fevered media speculation about Donald Trump’s psychological motivations and psychiatric diagnosis has recently encouraged mental health professionals to disregard the usual ethical constraints against diagnosing public figures at a distance. They have sponsored several petitions and a Feb. 14 letter to The New York Times suggesting that Mr. Trump is incapable, on psychiatric grounds, of serving as president.

Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.

Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).

Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.

ALLEN FRANCES

Coronado, Calif.


The writer, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College, was chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (D.S.M.-IV).

Île vierge

February 22nd, 2017

Lie Lie Land

February 17th, 2017

Artist Bambi – Picture Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Fou de Bassan

February 12th, 2017

Picture by Olivier Brunet

Flags, Countries & Stereotypes

February 4th, 2017

Nice project by by Russian art director Kirill Zaytsev that smartly mixes country flags and stereotypes. Here are my favorites:

What patients should ask their physicians when ordered a new drug

February 4th, 2017

Great list, from a paper by Ranit Mishori (@ranitmd), of questions to ask your physician to when ordered a new drug:

  • What is this medication, and why am I taking it?
  • Are there non-pharmacologic options to treat this condition?
  • How long do I need to be on it?
  • What are the benefits of continuing to take it?
  • What are the possible harms of using that medication?
  • Do any of my medications interact with any another?
  • Can I lower the doses of any of these medications?
  • Which of my medications are more likely to be nonbeneficial considering my age, my other medical conditions and my life expectancy?
  • Are there any medications I can get off completely?

Isabella Mocks Donald

February 4th, 2017

Surrounded by female colleagues, Sweden’s deputy prime minister Isabella Lövin signs a climate bill in a way that clearly mocks a well known picture where Donald Trump, with all-male colleagues around, signed a decree barring US federal funding for foreign NGOs that support abortion.

No need to say that neither Trump, nor his fans, will get the point. But the real issue is actually not there. Let’s hope that those who can smile at this picture can detect others with a similar inner joy and build together a genuine meshed society.

I wish Isabella smiled.

Hula Hoop

February 1st, 2017

Just discovered Julie Winegard… looks like this year, in spite of recent Trumpisms could be pretty poetic after all if they decide to make Hula hoop again.

America First

January 29th, 2017

Screen-And-Treat to Prevent Diabetes Doomed to Fail

January 5th, 2017

Larry Husten (@cardiobrief) just commented on a large new systematic review and meta-analysis published in The BMJ. In short, his point is that screen and treat strategies to prevent type 2 diabetes are doomed to failure unless screening is supplemented by broader public health approaches.

In his paper, Larry Husten quotes Victor Montori (@vmontori) who, when asked to comment on the BMJ study, expressed a trully hindsightful opinion:

It is so hard to articulate the issues because there is obvious good in preventing bad things, but let’s give this another go:

  • Type 2 diabetes is a bad thing when it reduces the quality of your life, because of its symptoms, complications or the burden of its treatment.
  • So preventing diabetes is obviously a good thing.
  • The scale of diabetes is huge and the proportion of people who live one step before that diagnosis is very large. (The review shows we will disagree in labeling who exactly is one step closer to the diagnosis depending on what definitions we choose and the ideology behind the definition selection.)
  • Individuals who choose to live more actively and eat healthier meals do better and delay diabetes, but they do so by swimming against the current, which explains the very high rates of drop offs and "failures."
  • The response should be massive in scale and persistent in time directed at the determinants of the environments, at the environments themselves, and at the lifestyles that emerge as people adapt to those environments. These changes should make healthier lifestyles the easy default —= the direction of the current that drags those who are and are not interested in swimming.
  • Screen and treat is a clinical response, individual, one-at-a-time. It seems ideally suited to people who already are chronic patients by virtue of their comorbidities and thus are already in the healthcare system as it requires the resources of the healthcare system for its success. However, any clinical success leaves the determinants of the environments and the environments unchanged, guaranteeing a steady stream of candidates for screen and treat forever. Furthermore, patients with prediabetes who "fail" to improve with lifestyle interventions may be considered candidates for diabetes drugs like metformin – in essence they are preventing the diagnosis of diabetes by ensuring they get treatment for diabetes instead— a lousy proposition.
  • Meanwhile people bemoan the low quality of treatment of type 2 diabetes, in part because of lack of time, training, and resources. These are lacks from the same system we are ready to load with people who screen positive for prediabetes. And since the epidemic hits the underserved hardest (suggesting again problems with the contexts in which people try to make a living rather than a massive epidemic of poor judgment among the poor and socioeconomically distressed) and these folks have trouble getting healthcare in the first place, a solution reliant on healthcare access, if effective, would make disparities in the incidence of diabetes worse.
  • Thus, we need solutions that don’t leave the conditions that have created the epidemic intact, making the efforts of those set on improving their lifestyle often seem futile in the long run, producing more at-risk people, burdening the sick-care system with healthy people seeking wellness. In all these ways, policies of screen and treat are accidentally (I hope) cruel, particularly toward the sick and the needy, people living "in the shadows of life."
  • I wholeheartedly endorse the priority of preventing type 2 diabetes, but effective sustainable solutions are more likely to be found through evidence-informed deliberative democracy (the population version of shared decision making). The work there is to determine the kind of environments we want — for ourselves and our children — and the public health policies that must be implemented to realize them.
  • Those who seek a more expedient solution to match the urgency of the problem would do best to start this long-term process as soon as possible rather than waste time, attention, and resources, in palliating the problem one screen-and-treated patient at a time.


Emphasis (bold) is mine.

Complex vs Complicated

January 2nd, 2017

Two pictures to start this new year well. First, by John Saddington (@8BIT), The Emotional Journey of Creating Anything Great. Actually, it applies to creating anything at all; the greatness is about ending joyfully, but lame (or simply ordinary) creations mostly share the same path. The real message here is "look at what happens the days, months or years after the glorious instant when you decide that Yes You Can" :-)

The second picture, by Niels Pflaeging (@Complexitools), delineates a clear separation between the keywords to be used in our current complex universe versus the concepts that have always been used in (only) complicated environments. The blue domain is the place where "Puzzle Makers" can keep working as usual while the red area describes a world that already shifted to a highly networked universe. Better embrace the red… if you are not to retire really soon ;-)

Harold Jarche’s Best Finds in 2016

December 30th, 2016

Harold Jarche (@hjarche) shares its best finds in 2016, and I specially liked his "quotes" chapter:

@Tom_Peters: "Presidents rarely get good advice. Every ‘presenter’ presents a totally biased solution–often suppressing competing evidence."

@atduskgreg: "Machine learning is automated bureaucracy. It spits back the systemic biases we feed it in feature vectors, training sets, reward functions."

"The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." ‐ H.L. Mencken via @normsmusic

@HughCards: "As the Internet makes everything cheaper, access to real networks (Harvard, Wall St., Silicon Valley etc) gets even more expensive."

"Power not only corrupts, it addicts." ‐ Ursula Le Guin via @ndcollaborative

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." ‐ Marcus Aurelius via @MickFealty

Michèle Morgan

December 21st, 2016

The most beautiful eyes in cinema were permanently closed this morning… and it makes me sad because I must confess that I have always considered Michèle Morgan as very close from the perfect woman.


Image from Passage to Marseille (1944)


Portrait by Ernest Bachrach (1940)

Welcome to Nobody Cares

December 20th, 2016

This image is a riff on Seth’s Godin’s first lesson of marketing in the Internet Age: "Nobody Cares About You".

i.e. Nobody is going to click on your link/download your app/buy your product/read your blog because you’re so utterly fascinating, Darling. They do it because there’s something in it for them- and no, you’re not the one who gets to decide what that something is.

But then again, that’s quite liberating. It frees you up to think about what what matters to other people, not what emotional bauble strokes your ego.

It makes it much easier to be engaged. Which, in the Holiday Season, is no bad thing.

Image and text by @gapingvoid

The idea awareness cycle

December 9th, 2016

Yet another great post by Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog) describing the typical idea awareness cycle.

Ignorance We’re too busy doing our jobs to notice that.
Dismissal That? It’s trivial. Kids.
Nervousness Let’s take a look at what they’re up to, benchmark it, buy a research report… Bob, can you handle this?
Poor Copies See, I told you it was no big deal. Our new model is almost the same.
Admiration Wow, look at them go. Every once in awhile, someone comes up with something special. Good for them.
Special case Of course, this won’t effect our core business. It’s working really well here because that’s unique.
Superman Holy smokes. Who is this guy?
Catastrophe/Doomsday Run for your lives. It’s over. Over forever and ever.
  Repeat

css.php