Mathematics

AfI/IAf #4: “AIs can be artists too” / “Les IAs peuvent aussi être artistes”

These past few years, we’ve had plenty of articles on AIs that had created amazing paintings, incredible texts or uncannily realistic music. While the results were sometimes not as truly unbelievable as the article’s buzz-title suggested, we have to admit that there’s an ever-growing trend of “creative AIs”, or AI artists. But this begs the question: can AI really be creative? Isn’t this ability to invent, to create, inherently human?

Read More »AfI/IAf #4: “AIs can be artists too” / “Les IAs peuvent aussi être artistes”

Data & Security/Donnée & Sécurité #2: Asymmetric Ciphers/Chiffrement asymétrique

Last time, I discussed how symmetric cryptography has long been in use for transmitting secret messages. Despite all of its advantages, we did point out some problems with symmetric ciphers: they require you to safely exchange keys and some can now be easily broken thanks to the newest technologies in computer science. Today, I’ll talk more about the counterpart: asymmetric cryptography. I’ll discuss its pros and cons compared to symmetric cryptography and I’ll also give a very rough picture of a possible game-changer: quantum cryptography.

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Data & Security/Donnée & Sécurité #1: Symmetric Ciphers / Chiffrement symétrique

Today, we live in a world of data. It is great, because it helps Google perform amazing searches and retrieve exactly the info you want; because it allows Facebook and Instagram to show you news that are relevant for you; because it makes it easy to connect to hundreds of applications and enjoy thousands of new technologies. But, at the same time, some scammers are currently take advantage of the Covid pandemic to trick people into giving out info and money with phishing, possible medical data leaks from the French to the American government have been pointed out and there are more and more scandals about hackers attacking hospitals or banks mixing up their clients data and having them stolen.

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Why do cheetahs have spots? / Pourquoi les guépards ont-ils des taches ?

In 1952, Alan Turing published an article called The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis in which he offered an idea as to how reaction-diffusion equations could help explain various biological structures: the spacing of rows of alligator teeth, the spots on cheetahs, the position of leaves on some plants… Beside the article itself that is quite fascinating, it’s interesting to see that today, nearly 70 years later, there is still no scientific consensus on whether to accept or deny his theory.

Read More »Why do cheetahs have spots? / Pourquoi les guépards ont-ils des taches ?

The concept of agency / Le concept d’agentivité (2/2)

Last week, I started to talk about agency, this “feeling that you are in control” and that your actions can have an impact on your environment. In particular, I mentioned how video games can help us understand when choices are meaningful and how they teach us this power of decision. Today, let’s continue with a focus on the links between games and real-life, and on false choices and manipulation.

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The concept of agency / Le concept d’agentivité (1/2)

Two weeks ago, I talked about Skinner’s theories on human behavior and conditioning. I also mentioned how his discoveries, and most notably the Skinner box, have been used in game design. When we think about conditioning, something that we usually have difficulty with is the idea that some external force is deciding for us; that we have essentially lost our power of action. This ability to choose and influence the events in our life is called “agency”.

Read More »The concept of agency / Le concept d’agentivité (1/2)