Wednesday, August 22, 2018

China presents medical robots, teachers and warriors

Robots capable of diagnosing a disease, playing badminton, playing musical instruments or fighting like warriors are the stars of a congress in China about smart machines that can revolutionize the country's economy. The world of robotics exhibited is fascinating: an articulated arm capable of writing characters, androids from the local group of Gee electric appliances playing the drum, a fish robot that turns into an aquarium or a bat-raising machine that raises flight.
Automatons with screens of Cantonese company Inbot, able to perform the functions of teacher or salesman, perform a synchronized choreography, while other miniature robots compete for a football match.
But the real attraction remains the robot fighting they face in a ring, amid the exclamations of fascinated spectators, miniature tanks, swift and armed with sharp blades that collide with each other and mutilate with a loud bang.
"The personality of my robot reflects mine! And I love the sparks ...," says Huang Hongsong, one of the young Chinese men whose machines are in competition.
- Battle of robotics -
But beyond the ludic aspect, China hopes to win in the international arena the battle of industrial robotics, in the context of the exacerbated technological war with the United States.
With an aging population and a growing shortage of local labor, the Asian giant relies on the automation of factories to maintain its industrial development.
"Robots are the crown jewel for the manufacturing industry ... a new frontier," was enthralled this week at the Xin Guobin congress, the Chinese deputy minister of Industry. President Xi Jinping himself had called in 2014 a "robot revolution".
China is already the first market for industrial robots, with 141,000 units sold last year (+ 58.1%) and a third of world demand, according to the international robotics federation. This demand can grow 20% by 2020.
"The potential for automation continues to be immense: by 2016, China had 68 robots for every 10,000 employees, four times less than in Japan or Germany," explains Karel Eloot, a McKinsey cabinet specialist in Asia.
Only 27 percent of the industrial robots sold last year were Chinese companies: Beijing wants this market share to rise to 50 percent by 2020, and then to 70 percent by 2025, according to the "Made in China 2025" technology plan.
According to Eloot, this is a tricky proposition: "It would be necessary to double the number of Chinese engineers in robotics ... and to mitigate intellectual property gaps. Chinese companies own less than 1% of patents."
In addition, the social cost can be high: according to the World Bank, up to 77% of Chinese jobs are likely to be automated.
- Doctor Robô -
However, outside the factories, robotics is already flourishing in China in restaurants, banks, and the medical sector.
The Chinese iFlytek presented in Beijing its "robot medical assistant", supposedly able to take a questionnaire to a patient and identify 150 diseases.
"It has been used in hospitals since March and has helped to make about 4,000 diagnoses," said Liu Qingfeng, president of iFlytek, which aims to "provide artificial intelligence to doctors in isolated regions."
IFlytek is also testing a robot jurist, who was supposed to help the judges determine the verdict.
In turn, Chindex, a subsidiary of the Fosun conglomerate, distributes articulated surgical arms of American design "Da Vinci" in China. In an operating room equipped with high definition cameras and multipositional scalpels, this robot "transcends the limits of the human eye," says Liu Yu, Chindex's chief operating officer.
"It only helps the doctor, it can not replace it. It would not be ethical, the human body is too complex," he says.
With 160 companies represented, this 4th World Congress of robots reveals the emergence of technologies that allow automata to replace humans.

Where is Russia stalking? Trump asks after conviction of ex-ally

Condemnation of Paul Manafort and expropriation of former lawyer Michael Cohen should increase the pressure that already exists by the impeachment of the Republican

On the same day that two of his former allies found themselves in the crosshairs of Justice, the President of the United States , Donald Trump said at a rally in the state of West Virginia that the investigation led by Special Adviser Robert Mueller "cannot find collusion with Russia . "
This is a reference to suspicions of collaboration between the winning campaign of the 2016 White House race and Moscow in favor of favoring the presidential election.
"Where is the collusion with Russia? They can not find collusion with Russia, "Trump questioned an audience of supporters on Tuesday.
Earlier, a federal jury found Paul Manafort , who was campaign director for the current president, guilty on eight counts of tax and banking fraud.
Also on Tuesday, his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to charges of tax fraud, bank fraud and violations of campaign finance laws. In addition, Cohen said he acted "in coordination and under the direction of a candidate for a federal official post," but did not name Trump in his confession.
In assuming his guilt, Cohen told Judge William Pauley that he paid $ 130,000 and $ 150,000 during the 2016 election campaign in exchange for the silence of two women who would have related to the president, "at the request of the candidate and with the intention of influencing the election. "
Judge Pauley will pronounce Cohen's sentence on December 12, and the lawyer may receive up to five years in prison for each of the tax evasion offenses, thirty years for bank fraud and five years for each offense of violation of the financing law campaign.
The White House declined to comment on Cohen's remarks. Later, in an American press release, Trump's attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, stated that "there are no charges of any crime against the president in what was presented by the government against Mr. Cohen."
Cohen's decision to admit his guilt should turn out to be a real problem for Trump. Although United States legal tradition points out that a president cannot be tried in office, Cohen's admission will certainly increase the pressure that already exists for an impeachment of the Republican.
The Democratic Party leader in the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (California), said the cases involving Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are "further evidence of rampant corruption and criminality in the heart of US President Donald Trump ".
For the Democrat, these condemnations are further evidence that investigations into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election must continue without interference.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal also ruled, saying that after Tuesday's revelations "there is no other reading" but that Trump "is an uninvolved criminal accomplice."


At the rally in West Virginia, Trump also defended its trade policy on the grounds that the United States will impose a 25% tariff on imports of cars from the European Union and that this measure will convert the current US trade deficit, which it has estimated at US $ 151 billion. dollars, in a surplus of equal value with the block of nations.
Trump also assured that the United States is "on the way to a fair deal with Mexico, " arguing that the president-elect of the neighboring country, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, "knows that Mexico needs the United States." "I get along better with him than with the capitalist," added the American, referring to the current representative, Enrique Peña Nieto.
China was not out of the White House leader's speech. He said that before his inauguration, China "was on the way to being bigger than us". "It will not happen," he promised, amid repeated allegations that Beijing has stolen American technology.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

In response to Trump, American newspapers unite to defend freedom of the press
            To insist that the truths you do not like are 'false news' is dangerous to democracy, and calling journalists 'enemies of the people' is dangerous," writes the New York Times. More than 200 newspapers joined the campaign

 "Journalists are not the enemy": Revolting with Donald Trump, many US newspapers responded on Thursday (16) by publishing coordinated editorials to insist on the importance of press freedom.
Led by the Boston Globe, which launched a call accompanied by the hashtag #EnemyofNone, more than 200 newspapers across the country joined the campaign.

"Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the 'people's enemy,'" the Globe editorial said.
"This is one of the many lies this president has thrown, as well as a charlatan of yesteryear who threw a 'magic in the water' powder over a hopeful crowd," he added in an article titled "Journalists Are not the Enemy."
Trump's actions are also spurring strong leaders like Vladimir Putin in Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey to treat journalists as enemies, the Globe argued.
The New York Times, one of Trump's most frequent critics, has published a seven-paragraph editorial under a huge, all-capital title that says "A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU" and the statement that it is only It's just that people criticize the press when it does something bad.
"But to insist that the truths you do not like are 'false news' is dangerous to the blood of democracy, and calling journalists 'enemies of the people' is dangerous, period," the Times wrote.
The initiative is taken at a particular time: Trump multiplies attacks against the media, regularly qualifying them as "Fake News" against any information that might displease him.
For advocates of press freedom, this rhetoric threatens the First Amendment to the American Constitution, which protects the sacrosanct freedom of expression and press.
Some believe that Trump's comments sparked threats against journalists covering their events and could also create a climate of hostility that opened the door to violent attacks, such as the one at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, at the end of June, when five people were murdered by a gunslinger who had a conflicting relationship with the vehicle.
Other media have defended their role by stressing that it is a job that saves the American taxpayer time.
"Journalists cover tedious government meetings and decipher formulas for funding public schools so this does not have to be done" by the reader, says the Arizona Daily Star. "It's not as basic as the First Amendment, but it can be useful."
Limited Initiative
This Thursday, Trump made a new attack through his favorite network, Twitter: "PRESS FAKE NEWS IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. This is too bad for our Great Country ... BUT WE ARE WINNING!" wrote in his account.
The president's supporters saw the initiative as another reason for criticism.
"The media are deliberately and publicly attacking" realDonaldTrump "and against" half the country that supports it. "And the media wonder why we think it is false news," wrote Mike Huckabee, ex. - Republican governor and columnist of the conservative channel Fox News.
"I do not think the press should sit idly by and suffer, you have to defend yourself when the most powerful man in the world tries to undermine the First Amendment," said Ken Paulson, former USA Today editor and "First Amendment Center" at Newseum, the Journalism Museum in Washington.
However, it mitigates the scope of the initiative: "People who read editorials need not be persuaded."
Paulson expressed the view that, in today's conflictive context, the most appropriate for the media is to develop a broader market campaign in which they emphasize the importance of freedom of the press as a core value.
For James Freeman, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal - an economic newspaper owned by tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the president's ally - this move "is probably not the best way to grow readership among right-wing voters."
Dan Kennedy, a professor of journalism at Northeastern University, has no doubt that Trump's supporters will see this "further proof that the press acts as a member of the Resistance."
Even critics of Trump doubt the benefits of the campaign. Like Jack Shafer, of the specialized Politico, who believes that coordinated effort "will certainly have a counterproductive effect."
According to a recent survey by Ipsos, 43 percent of Republican citizens think the president should have the authority to close media outlets that present "misconduct.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Former Trump adviser says he has written racist statements by the president

Recordings will be released in a book; Former employee says US agent team offered monthly payment in exchange for her silence
Omarosa Newman, former advisor to the president of the United States Donald Trump, recorded in secret several incriminating conversations he had with the tycoon, either personally or by telephone, according to published on Friday 10 various international media.

Manigault Newman was one of the most prominent black female officials at the top of the White House. Second, in the recorded conversations, Trump is extremely racist.

The recordings will be released in his book Unhinged  ("Unbalanced"), which will be released next week, according to Daily Beast.

According to the Washington Post, Manigault Newman tells in her book that Trump's team offered her a $ 15,000-a-month contract to silence the recordings, but she declined.
After participating in the 2004 reality show presented by Trump,  The Apprentice (The Apprentice) , the broadcaster NBC, Manigault Newman has turned into one of that reliable multimillionaire, did not hesitate to put it in his government when he became Presidency of the country, in January last year.

She has held the post of Communications Director for the White House Public Affairs Office until her resignation in December for reasons that have never been clarified.

Since then, Trump's former confidant has turned into his nightmare. In several statements, he hinted that the contents of his book might demonstrate, among other things, the racist nature of the president.

According to the Guardian newspaper, which had access to an early copy of the work, the former adviser states in her book that Trump constantly used the word " nigger " during the recording sessions of his television program. The term is considered an extremely derogatory and offensive way to refer to blacks in the United States.

According to the British newspaper, Manigault Newman also describes how Trump addressed himself to the husband of his advisor Kellyanne Conway, who is of Filipino origin. According to her, the president referred to the foreigner as "fucked, flip ! unfair! fucked goo-goo ! ".

Both " flip " and " goo-goo " are two disparaging expressions used to attack the Filipino community in the United States.

A spokesman for publisher Simon & Schuster, who was responsible for the publication of the former adviser's book, declined to confirm the existence of Trump's recordings of the Daily Beast. However, the official of the publisher assured that the company is convinced that the author "can substantiate" the narration of his passage through the White House.

Can being pessimistic be good?

When we think of someone pessimistic it is common to come to our mind a sly person, who sees only the negative side of everything. Yes, this can be very unpleasant. But, believe me, there's something positive about thinking that things can go wrong. This prepares us for adversity and makes us face difficulties with the most open mind
To be human is to be endowed with the great gift of concern. We are probably the only creature who is anxious about the future and who regrets the past. Those "what if" thoughts and "what good would it be ..." spend a lot of energy, literally - the brain is a major consumer of nutrients and oxygen - and metaphorically. It is not surprising that many times we feel exhausted with the routine and not want to move on. 
In the Western world, we tend to think that the solution to this - the way to calm, let us say - is to empty the mind. A whole industry came up offering it. Silent retreats, mindfulness applications, yoga classes with songs and bells and even easy-to-use versions of Buddhism exhibit the possibility of a quiet life.
The point is often that in spite of all this we continue to be anxious - perhaps even more so: if such retreats, classes and applications do not seem to bring peace, we run the risk of feeling guilty for not being "so good" at it. And the whole process can end up being a great frustration for those involved. 
I'm not very good at practicing any of this. I find it boring to meditate. I do not connect well with the practice of mindfulness. However, not long ago, I found a kind of tranquility in a very unexpected place: pessimism. When you hear that word, you must be thinking: is not pessimism something we should banish from our way of thinking? Should not we go through life smiling, being positive and optimistic? Is not this what self-help books tell us since they were invented?
Yes and no. After the movement called Positive Thinking, which thrived in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, became known, we have this idea that smiling will make us feel better about the world. It is true that it is far better to spend the day smiling than frowning. However, it soon becomes painfully clear that sunny optimism has its limits, because when things go wrong (and even give) we are totally disappointed, like a little child whose ice cream has just fallen to the ground. 
Instead, we need to change the way we look at the world. One way is to try to find answers in a group of Roman philosophers called "Stoics," especially Lucius Annaeus Seneca - or Seneca, as he is best known. He was a rich man, happy and successful, but very aware that things could go wrong at any time. In thinking that way, he did not see himself as special or unlucky. I felt that life was like this - for everyone. The world is, for the most part, unpredictable. Problems happen, and when things do not go as planned, it is often because of something beyond our control.
This is difficult for Westerners to accept. Especially because we live in the shadows of the Enlightenment, we feel that we have the power to make life bend at our will. We should, as many social networks dictate, to "enjoy the moment" and "make a difference in the world". We should be able to make our lives happier and fuller. If we can not do this, it may be because we have gone the wrong way or we have not tried hard enough. This, by chance, is the root of a bad disdain in many Western societies by homeless people or addicts, on the grounds that living a decent life is just a matter of willpower and that it is not possible for them have struggled hard enough - and such reasoning holds up until we find ourselves in the same position and realize that this may not really be our fault.
However, Seneca's thinking was not that we should give up on enjoying life or changing the world - on the contrary. For him, we should understand that success and failure are rather random results, that we have far less control over it than we suppose, and that instead of assuming that everything will go well, we should prepare ourselves psychologically for things to go wrong. 
For this, Seneca proposed to start the day with what he called premeditatio, or premeditation, in which we think of everything that can go wrong: that meeting with the boss, the meeting in the bar, the difficult conversation with the parents. The idea is not to despair, but to understand that even if everything goes wrong, you will still survive - it can be painful, but the ground does not go away.
Seneca also recommended testing this idea in practice. Although he lived well, he would sleep on the kitchen floor from time to time, and he would eat bread to prove to himself that he would survive this way. I like to think of this attitude as constructive pessimism, something other than the sad and cynical pessimism that bitter people often demonstrate. It is realistic that life sometimes brings reverses. He understands that in most of them we are not guilty, and he knows that in most cases we will go through them. I say "in most cases" because there will be a moment that we will not overcome: that of our death. It is so cut off from consciousness that we fall into the illusion that somehow it does not.
As Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and great follower of Seneca, wrote in Meditations: "Do not act as if you would live 10,000 years. Death hangs over his head. As long as you live, while in your power, be good. " For most of us, death will come unexpectedly. Our only job is to live well until this moment.
For most of my life, long before I heard of Seneca, I resisted this stoic and pessimistic way of thinking. I've always been optimistic, jumping from project to project with contagious energy. When things went well, it was great. The problems came when I failed. Now I realize that I did not have a useful way of dealing with those moments other than constantly blaming myself. I got up and started over and over, but it took some energy. There is a limit to fall flat on the floor. With Seneca, I realized that I needed to adjust my view of life by turning my optimism into "excitement" ("I'll be excited if it works out"). The change is subtle, but I've found that way of thinking makes room for a new idea that does not fit into optimism: "It may not work, but life goes on." 
This little change brought much peace to me. I still get excited about life and excited about its possibilities, but also less anxious about the chances of something going wrong. And that, I swear, does not stop me from smiling.

David Baker is a journalist, writer, coach, consultant, teacher and one of the founders of The School of Life in Brazil. He was also one of the creators of Wired magazine in the UK, which deals with technology. And he writes regularly for some of the world's most recognized publications.

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